Archive for Jan 2014

January 31, 2014 Baby Hannah

Yesterday I had the fun of meeting one week old little Hannah. This little munchkin is so beautiful – and good! The entire time I was there, she simply did what we wanted and was completely content. Let’s hope this trend continues! Mom and dad are so smitten with her – loved watching them interact. And big brother Winston – an english sheepdog – was as in love with Hannah as anyone else!

I love that her mom asked for natural, lifestyle images – no props. Perfect! My style exactly and what I love to capture. Life is beautiful all on it’s own… loved telling Hannah’s story through the lens!

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Celebrating life and love,


title GOLDEN: Lee and Norma Jean

[The GOLDEN project can be read about HERE. I will be photographing couples married 50+ years, hearing their stories and sharing their wisdom. Have someone you think I should document for this? Drop me a line at: with the subject "GOLDEN"]

Lee and Norma Jean met each other at a house party around 1947. Their group of friends would regularly all get together at someone’s home, push back the living room furniture and have a square dance! Whoever could play an instrument would provide the music for the group. They enjoyed each other’s company so much that night, that Lee drove Norma Jean home. He invited her to a show, and they dated for the next five years.

LN004 zps9204c7a7 GOLDEN: Lee and Norma Jean

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Lee and Norma Jean had a small wedding with about 35 guests in 1952. They got married in the church and then had a reception outside at a family home with food and the wedding cake all made by relatives. I asked if they wished they had a big, fancy wedding to which they replied “It isn’t about the wedding”. It’s the marriage that lasts after all!

They said that they thought all young people should watch the TV show “To Debt Do us Part” as credit cards break a lot of people. People go overboard today and make too much money they think. It makes people selfish. I loved Lee and Norma Jean’s simple lifestyle and philosophy.

LN002 zps28806507 GOLDEN: Lee and Norma Jean

Norma Jean shared how she was so excited about having her own home after they got married. Her father had passed away when she was 14 and she had lived with extended family and not known a home of her own since that time. Lee and her bought a farm that they moved into when they married in 1952. They laughed as they remembered how bare the house was when they bought it. They had to finish the barn before the house renovations as the farm was their income. Then over time each room in the house got redone but it took many, many years to do. They both felt that it’s too bad that young people these days start out with everything right from the beginning. “That’s where you get life’s lessons. It’s why you appreciate what you have!”

LN003 zps7941b8a2 GOLDEN: Lee and Norma Jean

When they were first married Norma Jean had never made a meal before – her granddaughter who was with us was shocked by this as she’s known as a great cook now. Norma Jean explained it was a lot of trial and error and she was taught by Lee’s mom and aunt also. She also had never milked cows before – and hated chickens! – but as a farmer’s wife she had to learn to do it all. And the two of them worked together on chores and around the farm. Even when their children were young – Norma Jean would bring the kids to the barn with her, and she said sometimes they were crying and yelling right along with the cows but she had to finish her work. In those farm days it felt like all they did was sleep and work – and you didn’t sleep long as you had to be up at 5am! They sold the farm in 1975 but still wake up at 5am even now!

Even during those long farming days, they always made time for friends and fun. They would get together with friends at one of their homes 2-3 times a week. They would all bring something for dinner, and they’d play cards and have fun. The kids would play until they fell asleep, and then around midnight they’d carry them to the car to head home. They had no TV at this time – “Television is what ruined life!” icon smile GOLDEN: Lee and Norma Jean

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They had some paintings around their apartment that a family member had painted of their property at the farm. Beautiful keepsakes of a happy time in their lives.

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Even though Lee is 89, both he and Norma Jean are still so active. They babysit their great grandchildren occasionally. Lee loves driving – and they shared with me about a great day they had the week before going out for a drive to a town about an hour away. They went out for lunch, shopped and walked around the mall to get some exercise indoors during this bitter, cold winter. A great day out they both agreed. Most of their couple friends have passed on, but they have one friend who is 90 they enjoy playing cards with a couple times a month and try to go out with about once a month. Lee likes to go to the coffee hour at their seniors apartment building and socialize with his friends there. I commented on his great laugh and Norma Jean said that’s why they love having him come to the coffee hour!

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Norma Jean had a big basket of knitting at her feet I asked her about. She casually mentioned she likes to knit. Her granddaughter was there and I got the story of Norma Jean’s knitting skills from her. Norma Jean at age 84, knits layettes for St. Joseph’s hospital – hats, booties, mitts and a blanket for newborns at the hospital. She knits all year and then delivers them once a year. She also knit 24 pairs of slippers for the Ronald McDonald House last year. And she knit for a local women’s shelter too! She was so thrilled with the handwritten thank you card from the shelter. “It makes it all worthwhile” she said.

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Lee and Norma Jean shared how they do everything together. They work as a team and enjoy each others company.

As we finished our visit Lee said “Do the best you can as long as you can.” And they said they have lived with “no regrets. I could die tomorrow and I’d be happy.” Definitely lives well lived!

LN025 zps71626a27 GOLDEN: Lee and Norma Jean

Celebrating life and love,


January 19, 2014 The Street Gang

When I started to chat with Nicole to organize this photo session – I immediately fell in love with it.

A group of 5 childhood friends who all grew up on the same street. Two sets of sisters lived next door to each other then just one house divided them between the four and their other good friend. And all three sets of parents still live in these same homes! Originally Nicole had asked if I’d come to a park – but I asked where they had spent time as kids. She said they would always meet on the “green box” on their street – well, that’s where we need to meet then I said! I also asked if they could all bring old photos to share – waiting until they were all together to show them. It was so fun watching them laugh and cringe at the old photos of themselves! One of the girls brought a book of photos and writings and drawings she had made for each of them many years ago – but had never given them! Such a fun treasure! A great afternoon in the neighbourhood of where this friendship first formed!

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Then we went outside to the green box where they always met!

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The big tree they would meet at for picnics!

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Such a fun time watching these five interact! Thanks ladies!

Celebrating life and love,


January 17, 2014 GOLDEN: Art and Betty

IMG 2251 zps253b8aa0 GOLDEN: Art and Betty

[The GOLDEN project can be read about HERE. I will be photographing couples married 50+ years, hearing their stories and sharing their wisdom. Have someone you think I should document for this? Drop me a line at: with the subject "GOLDEN"]

Art and Betty I call Grandma and Grandpa Daniels. They’re not my grandparents but they are my sister-in-law’s grandparents. I remember when my brother and sister-in-law got engaged they said “we’re family now!” and that’s how it seems.

I don’t see them often – usually once or twice a year at family birthday parties. In 2011 at a birthday party I explained to them I wanted to photograph them. They laughed. Fast forward a year. In 2012, I saw them at my nephew’s birthday and told them I still wanted to photograph them. They laughed. Then I thought why wait? And pulled out my camera. They stopped laughing and realized I was serious!

Meet Art and Betty.

IMG 2254 zps60900671 GOLDEN: Art and Betty

When I posted on Facebook a sneak peek stating that their pictures were coming up on the blog – I started getting comments from grandkids, friends of their kids, friends of their grandkids and people who’ve ever met them. The comments went something like this… “Love these two” “They’re the best” “I love them.” “Greatest couple! Just love them!” “A very special couple!”” They are pretty awesome.” and so on.

So what better couple to start my GOLDEN project with?

IMG 2253 zps48ee0b30 GOLDEN: Art and Betty

I first photographed them back in August of 2012 – very unplanned at a chaotic kid birthday party. Conversation was limited as kids were running around and noise levels were loud. So, I went back to them this week and asked if we could continue our conversation. I thought we’d have a quick chat today – two hours later I had to pull myself away. I could sit and listen to their stories all day!

colour01 zps6a4b1a7d GOLDEN: Art and Betty

Art and Betty had photos everywhere in their home of their kids, grandkids and great grandkids. Betty loves to talk about her family and can fill you in on what every single one of them is up to and doing in their lives.

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Art has these incredible cross stitch pictures he has created – real works of art! He took up cross stitching after he retired – and they have three beautiful pictures in their living room framed. He explained that there is one for each of his three children and they can fight over who gets which picture themselves.

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When we sat down, Betty said in her cheeky way “well we better sit on the same couch and be all romantic.”

Their story goes back over several decades. Art and Betty are now 86 and 88 and met when they were in grade school. When we talk about their days at school Betty exclaims “Oh! I did not like him at all! He lived on the other side of the tracks you know!”

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In 1941, at the age of 15, Art started to work for Betty’s dad in the used furniture business. Betty explained that during World War II people couldn’t buy new furniture. This lead to reminiscing about the war… and the day they announced it was over and how exciting that was!

We talked about how they started dating. Once a week they use to all pile in the back of a truck and go to the show. It cost 22cents to get in at the time. They all went and payed their own way. One day one of the guys who could tell Art and Betty were starting to be interested in each other said “Betty – make Art pay your way!” And after that he did – paying her way to the show every week and spending his whole wages to do so. icon smile GOLDEN: Art and Betty

When Betty was 14 they went on their first date. It was “firecracker day” (the Victoria day holiday) and Art took her to see the fireworks. But – Betty’s parents didn’t trust them to go alone so their friend had to go with them also!

colour04 zps16ed462b GOLDEN: Art and Betty

On June 26, 1948 they were married. If you’re doing the math… that’s 66years this June! It was a beautiful wedding with the reception in the family’s backyard. Betty’s mom and her friends set up tables in the backyard and made sandwiches for people to eat. I asked what their wedding budget would have been – they said $50 would have been more than enough! At that time Art was making $19 a week with a $25 bonus at the end of the month.

colour07 zpse457a897 GOLDEN: Art and Betty

They reminisced about their early days… about how poor they were. As they shared about the early, hard days they laughed. It’s interesting to see how fondly they remembered the days when they went without. After the war it was hard to get a place to live and necessities like a fridge. Art and Betty’s first year of marriage was in an apartment where they shared a fridge and a washroom with the other tenant – Art’s brother Fred who married Betty’s sister Doris! It cost $40 a month for rent.

Art and Betty lived on a very strict budget. They have never gone into debt or paid interest on a credit card. They would make a grocery list – with the items they needed on the top, and then a separate list on the bottom of the items they wanted if they had money left over.

As Betty talked about how tight things were financially in the early days she said, “We never regretted it.”

colour09 zps46965443 GOLDEN: Art and Betty

I asked if they had any advice for a newlywed couple. What they wish they could tell themselves back in 1948 or someone else just starting out on the journey of marriage. They offered some GOLDEN nuggets of wisdom.

“The biggest thing is communication… but it took me a long time to learn it.”

I asked them what exactly should be communicated.

“Talk things over.” “Admit you’re wrong.” “We even have fights now at our age but we talk about it.” “Always make up.”

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And as well as communicating – is learning when NOT to communicate.

“Learn to keep your mouth shut. Walk away. Count to ten.”

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“There was rough years for sure. But we couldn’t afford to break up!”

“It’s not easy. We are learning all the time how important all this is.”

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Art added that learning to “give and take” is so important.

“You can’t do what you want all the time. It has to be give and take.” “How long did it take us to learn that?” [Laughter] “Oh… about 60 years.”

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Art and Betty – thanks for sharing your story!

Celebrating life and love,


January 15, 2014 Golden: Intro

I’ve been kicking around a personal photo project that I’d like to do for years now. I started photographing for it a year and a half ago – but didn’t want to share until I had everything done and had photographed enough people and… and… and….

Well, a new year means new beginnings. And one thing I’m working on this year is DOING rather than just talking about doing. So folks, let me introduce you to my GOLDEN project. I’m so excited to share it with you.

A bit of an intro…

I remember a night a few years ago so vividly. I was coming home late at night from photographing a wedding. I had witnessed the couple so in love vow their forevers to each other. They held hands. They laughed. They cried tears of joy. They looked with starry eyes as they walked out of the ceremony only seeing their happily ever after. I was still smiling as I drove home.

(Now – I need to add a disclaimer here. I’m a bit of a nerd. Instead of music, I always listen to talk radio in my car. Either 680 news or 1010 talk. Please don’t judge. Anyhow, I digress.)

On this particular summer evening, I turned on the news and listened to the horrifying statistics of divorce. Of marriages that did not end in happily ever after.

The contrast of the beauty of that day’s wedding, and the cold hard facts was like a slap across my face. I may have even gasped out loud from the sting of the hit.

I’ve been married 17 years and I’ll be the first to admit it’s not always easy. I adore my husband and am baffled he sticks with me… but sometimes it is in fact work and not roses, unicorns and rainbows.

My mind drifted to my grandparents and parents generations. All the people I know and have met who have been married 40, 50, 60+ years. I wondered what they knew that I don’t. That the couple who had just promised forever to each other might not yet know.

And so it began.

The GOLDEN project was born.

I started to document couples married fifty years or more and just hear their stories. Watch them interact. Soak in their wisdom. One thingI’ve noticed – pretty much all of them don’t think they have the answers and think they’ve still got lots to learn. Lifelong learners of love. I like that.

So, over the next while I will begin to share these stories and images with you in hopes that someday it’ll be your GOLDEN story being documented. To find these stories check back under the category “GOLDEN” on the blog… bring some tissues and an open heart too.

I’m just preparing to share my first couple later this week. Warning – you will adore them.

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Celebrating life and love,