May 26, 2014 Orchard Friends

I love traditions – and fortunately my good friends Cherie, and Carolynn do too! Every year we wait for “the call” from Cherie. She lives on the edge of a beautiful orchard and the first message comes early Spring. “The trees are about two weeks away from being in bloom”. And then regular reports until it’s finally “time” – and we hectically try to organize our schedules to make an evening work. We get all of our kids out to the orchard – we all enjoy a visit and running through the trees. Some years we’ve done props and a bit of a “set”. This year, we didn’t get as many photos – the kids just played, hung out and goofed off. It was a gorgeous evening and we’re so thankful our kids enjoy this annual tradition as much as us!

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After this photo session, I feel like I need to write my older siblings a formal apology. Eden is exactly like I Was. I’m so sorry, Marcie and David.

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We then piled in the cars – and headed to another orchard. Got to love Ontario in the SPring! And this time we added Cherie’s stepdaughter Jodey who was home from university. We love Jodey and were so glad we could get her in on the craziness – unfortunately kids cooperation was done by this point. ha ha.

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And this time we did something crazy – got a photo of us three moms. Cherie and Carolynn have been friends since grade one, and I’ve been friends with them since I moved to the area in grade nine. We’ve been through a lot together and I’m so thankful for these two!

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Celebrating life and love,


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May 24, 2014 Wielink Family

Being a photographer has many perks – but one of the best benefits is the people I meet. A few years back through photographer meetings I had the benefit of meeting Nataschia. We quickly became friends. In some ways we are so alike that our husbands have asked if we are related, and we sometimes get asked if we are sisters. I always answer “yes”. We have gone on photography adventures near and far and have so many fun memories together.

To say I love this girl is an understatement.

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Today – I want to introduce you to Nataschia’s family. It’s hard to believe these are her children and not siblings. My kids just saw this photo and asked “which one is the parents?”

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Mike and Nataschia are high school sweethearts. Married young and are a great example to many.

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But you know in those marriage vows is a line “for better or for worse, through sickness and in health.” And those words are being put to the test right now in this family.

A few years ago Mark started to be ill. It has been a roller coaster of pain – emotionally and physically – as they have tried to get him healthy. You can read the heart-wrenching story from Nataschia’s perspective HERE. The short version is – Mike has Lyme disease. In Canada this is not recognized or covered, and they have had to go to the States for treatment. Which of course is not covered – and the costs are piling up. Mike is unable to work. They’re selling their home.

For better or worse.

This is true love at it’s finest. You can take away health, you take away financial security through job, and your beautiful home – but still love remains.

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Nataschia’s photography tag line is “for people madly in love.” And I have to say – they’re setting a solid example for her wedding clients. And their children. And me.

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Again – please take a moment to read their story HERE and consider helping – any help is so appreciated.

Celebrating life and love,


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May 24, 2014 Greg and Libby

It is always so exciting to see parents-to-be anticipating their new arrival. Especially first time parents. The moment the little one arrives everything changes. Suddenly you become mom and dad. A person exists that you have the honour of shaping and guiding – and watching who they become. And the days leading up to the miracle are also exciting as we wonder who this child will be, who they’ll look like, what personality traits they’ll have and who they will become. I remember them as days full of dreams – dreaming who my child would be, who they would become and what life would be like. So when it came time to do Greg and Libby’s maternity photos… this dreamy orchard location was the perfect choice for this time of dreaming as they anticipate their little one’s arrival.

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And we visited not one – but two orchards. The above orchard with the pink blossoms, and then the white blossoms (and dandelions!) below! I love Spring in southern Ontario!

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Celebrating life and love,


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Today is Mother’s Day – a day of celebrating for many, but also a day that is hard for so many. Memories of moms that had to say goodbye too early. Moms who weren’t the Hallmark idea of a mother and now there is hurt and pain mingled in with the memories. Women who long to be a mother and yet their bodies and circumstances won’t allow it. Women who have yet to find love, and are reminded of that fact again today. Women who are now single mothers – learning to parent alone.

Today is Mother’s Day – and I like to think of it as a day to celebrate the women who have been an inspiration or influence in our lives.

The aunts who spoil their nieces and nephews with memories while gifting the parents with a much needed break.
The birth mom, who selflessly carried her child and gave them the gift of life and love in a new adoptive family.
The girlfriends who have supported and loved as they watch their friend go through divorce, disease or other such challenges.
The moms who have intentionally loved their children and their families through big and small acts of love daily.
The sisters, friends, aunts, grandmothers, teachers, cousins, and other women in our lives who have carried us emotionally and supported us practically and inspired us to be our best….

This day is for you.

And we say thank you! We celebrate you!

Celebrating life and love,


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May 6, 2014 Laura’s kids

Leading up to Mother’s Day is a great time to think about the amazing women who we call mom. Here is one such woman – meet Laura. Laura is mom to four little ones – the oldest is only four and they are all just a year apart. To say her hands is full is an understatement! She may be busy but she is full of laughter and cuddles for those little ones! It’s so much fun to watch this family of five interact together!

Meet the beautiful Laura…

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And her incredible munchkins. First is Jack and his beloved stuffed rabbit Ping.

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Then there is Beth who was so proud to so me her Spiderman stickers when we met!

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Then there is little Jolene with those little pigtails and her kitty cat.

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And last is Andy who is so in love with his mom and loves nothing better than her cuddles.

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The kids were SO good but when the meltdowns start… it’s time to go!

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Celebrating life and love,


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cover zpsc3ac1b13 GOLDEN: Leonard and Helen

[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"]

I didn’t plan to document Leonard and Helen, but while photographing their grandson’s wedding I met them and just fell in love with them! During the reception, I asked if I could sit down with them just for a couple of minutes and chat about their love story over the last 58 years. So this one is a bit different than the other GOLDEN posts as it is not at their home – but at a wedding.

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Leonard moved to Canada from Ireland when he was 17 when his dad was hired to work on the Avro Arrow. When he had been in Canada only 3 days, he met Helen’s father at church. Having also been Irish immigrants, the families had a bond. Her dad invited Leonard’s family over after church. Leonard said he went downstairs to watch television – he didn’t have a TV so this was exciting. When he went down Helen and her three sisters were sitting on a couch. I asked why he singled out Helen. He said very matter-of-factly “she was a redhead.”

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Since we were at a beautiful wedding while chatting, I asked them if their wedding was similar. They laughed. They said they think it cost $1.25/plate at that time for their Toronto wedding.

When I asked them what advice they would give to their grandson or “secrets” to staying together happily so long they had some good insight. They said there is a lot of ups and downs in life and you just have to learn to weather them together. They thought that is where the breakups happen when hard times come and they don’t handle the tough times together. Helen said that things will always get better. It’s never “always” bad. These two have known their share of hard times, having lost a daughter ten years prior who had a lifetime of health concerns. They both agreed that sickness cane make or break a couple. Leonard and Helen both also thought that having Faith is important and helped get them through a lot of their tough times.

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Leonard and Helen both had parents that were married right to the end and that example of sticking together made an impact on them. Life wasn’t easy as immigrants – but their parents were committed to each other and their example was helpful for their children’s marriages also.

I love sitting and chatting with these two – but since it was their grandson’s wedding didn’t want to keep them long. Before I left for the evening I was able to capture a few images of them on the dance floor enjoying each other’s company. When I left – they were still up dancing!

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Celebrating life and love,


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March 30, 2014 Baby Penelope

It has been such an honour to document this growing family – and here they grow again! Recently, I was able to document the home birth of little Penelope. It was just a year and a half before that I was able to document her brother Desmond’s home birth also. Now this family of five has three kids three and under!

Again it was an beautiful experience… through each contraction Sarah would hold on to Kris, and then as it passed she’d hug him, tell him she loves him, prayed, and was incredible. It was so beautiful to watch this miracle and an honour to be a part of it again.

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Sarah’s mom was a big help watching Bella and Desmond but they came in for a quick visit and Sarah was great with them even during the contractions.

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Time to move to the tub and soon welcome little Penelope!

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Desmond woke up and was able to meet his new little sister – he was so excited!

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Grandma with her newest granddaughter….

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Celebrating life and love,


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March 18, 2014 Baby Theo

Right before I went to Kenya last week I was able to sneak in one more newborn session with baby Theo. He had arrived early much to his parents surprise – but they are all so smitten and happy with his arrival! It was fun visiting them in their Toronto condo and documenting their new life of as a family of three!

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Celebrating life and love,


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March 3, 2014 Aaron and Becky

I have known Becky and her family for many years – so it was a real honour to document her wedding last weekend. To see her move from the young girl I knew years ago to a radiant bride today. It was a day of laughter and celebrating as Aaron and Becky made their “ultimate promise” (loved that wording from their invitation). After a winter of snow, snow and more snow – the day before the wedding it RAINED. But fortunately on the day of the wedding there was still some snow for images – but it had warmed up. Perfect!

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Aaron and his gorgeous daughter – hard to believe she’s only 12!!

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Meanwhile over at the ladies there was lots of laughs!

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Always love when dad sees his daughter as a bride for the first time!

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Becky’s dad is always joking around – loved his reaction to get his boutonniere on! ha ha.

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Love this image of Jackie (mother of the bride) and Melissa (Maid of honour) rushing in to get this party started!

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Celebrating life and love,


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February 22, 2014 GOLDEN: Dick and Nancy

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I have been trying for several weeks to get together with Dick and Nancy – but each time we go to meet one of us are sick or the weather doesn’t cooperate. Finally Friday everything was set to meet! I arrived at their condo where I was to meet their granddaughter – and checked my messages. There was a message saying Dick wasn’t feeling well and not up to it. Oh no! But then the next message was – if you’ve already left, let’s go ahead anyways! And so we did. I didn’t expect Dick to talk much, but right from the string, firm handshake when I arrived he had this twinkle in his eye. He corrected Nancy’s story and laughed along with us. And at the end they thanked us for a fun morning down memory lane. I’m so glad we went ahead!

Dick and Nancy’s story starts during World War ll. Nancy is from the town of Irvine, Scotland. Dick was a Canadian soldier. Nancy and her girlfriends were crossing over a bridge one day in the fall of 1943, when some soldiers crossed and were making rude comments to the girls. The girls kept walking and saw another group of soldiers – Nancy was dreading passing them also. Then she noticed they were Canadian! One of them was Dick, and he said to his friends “let’s stop these girls.”

I asked Dick why he wanted to stop the girls. “Just wanted to pick up a girl” came his quick response.

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Nancy had a hat with a veil over her face that day. As they went for a drink, she asked him “How come you asked me when you couldn’t see my face?”

Dick’s honest response was, “I seen your legs.”

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They saw each other for 6 weeks before Dick had to go back to war.

(Here Nancy is showing me where she and Dick met for the first time)

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They wrote back and forth for the next year until one day Nancy got the telegram no one ever wants to receive.

Dick had been wounded and was not expected to live.

Nancy’s parents would not let her go to him in the hospital. He spent 3 months in the hospital and it was 6 months before Nancy could see him again. His first leave after the hospital, Dick and Nancy got engaged. They inscribed the date of the engagement on her ring – she did not want it to be for the real date of November 13, 1944 as 13 is unlucky… so they chose two days before which was a day of celebrating around the world as it was the day the war ended. November 11, 1944!

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They were married in Scotland in 1945. Dick’s family had never met Nancy – but he said his mother was “pretty pleased” because he was one of four boys and she always wanted a girl. When I asked them about their wedding they both started to laugh.

Dick says while laughing, “Never a wedding like ours in a million years.”

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Nancy had to continually keep changing the date of the wedding as she was trying to coordinate it with both Dick and her brother getting a leave from the war to come. Dick jokes that she was more concerned her brother got to the wedding than if he did! Finally the day was set.

Because everything was rationed during the war, it was challenging planning a wedding. Nancy had ordered some steak for the wedding – but then realized without an icebox and not certain that Dick could in fact make it – she had to cancel the order again. When he did in fact come on the wedding day – she went to town in her curlers (on her wedding day!!) to find food for the celebration. She had some coupons for candy. And when she ran into an old acquaintance and he asked her what she was doing – she said “I’m getting married today!”. He offered her candy as well. So she had nice fruit and candy at the wedding.

Nancy borrowed her wedding dress – and was actually the third bride to wear it!

They had the wedding in their hime and the neighbours offered baking. There was one taxi and they had to cram everyone into it. The photographer in town was busy so they had the photographer’s apprentice and had two photos taken. Two. As a photographer I gasped when I Heard only two photos taken. But then they showed me the most beautiful, timeless photo. Two was all they needed. icon smile GOLDEN: Dick and Nancy

They have it hung in their bedroom and Nancy told me she looks at it every single night before she goes to sleep.

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Dick had 11 day leave before he had to go back to his troop. Then he had to return to Canada without Nancy as the ships were only allowed so many war brides each trip. It was 10 months before Nancy’s turn came to come to Canada.

She talked about the week’s passage across the ocean and how excited she was to see the lights in Halifax. From there it was a train ride to Toronto and then on to Hamilton. It was midnight before she got to Hamilton. She was the last one off the train. nancy told us how she had on a black and white tartan and a white blouse. Her mom had told her to tuck the collar in on the blouse until she got there and then turn it out and it would still look fresh.

I said to Dick that she must have looked good to him after all that time. He got this slow grin across his face. “She sure did.”

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Nancy was quick to say they didn’t have a perfect marriage but that they were committed. You “pick each other up and keep going.” And if you stick with it, you’ll find “a stronger love than you had in the beginning. And a closeness.”

Dick piped up. “Love is something that grows.”

Nancy added “Deeper and stronger as it grows.”

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Then the wisdom just started to flow out. They had so much to offer from their 69 years of experience.

“Be open with each other and be there for each other.”

“Perservere and be committed to each other.”

“Every night we tell each other we love each other. We read our Bibles. And we pray.”

Nancy shared part of a favourite verse that has helped in their marriage… “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other”

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On their 50th and 60th anniversaries Dick and Nancy renewed their vows with friends and family. They had a big celebration – and what a reason to celebrate!

When I asked Nancy her wedding date – she said Ground Hogs Day. With a laugh she adds “he stuck his nose out of the ground, I hit him over the head and said ‘you’re mine!’”

IMG 2137 zps7e5ba13b GOLDEN: Dick and Nancy

Nancy has some favourite quotes written out she likes to share with people when writing wedding or anniversary cards – she shared them with me.

“Three kinds of love.
Love that takes
Is the love that breaks.
Love that ties
Is the love that dies.
Love that gives
Is the love that lives.”

IMG 2042 zps870acf56 GOLDEN: Dick and Nancy

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And when I left – I left not only with a happy heart full of stories and love, but also fresh baked banana bread! Yum!

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Throughout the whole time together Nancy kept saying, “We have been so blessed. So blessed.” Wishing them many, many more blessings – and thankful for them blessing us with this gift of their experience and knowledge.

Celebrating life and love,