One of the many lessons I learned through my father’s illness and eventual death on May 1st of this year is how much I appreciate my family. Each one of my siblings has so many wonderful character qualities that I’ve come to admire. My brother Joe has a quiet strength about him and yet is a man of deep integrity and moral character. I believe my brother Tom (actually, either one of my brothers) would give you the shirt off his back AND help you put it on in the process. He is selfless, hard working and tenderhearted. Both of my brothers have an incredible love of family and walk this out on a daily basis in different ways through the ups and downs of life. Oh, and then there is the love of motorcycles. Harley’s to be exact. There’s just something about the open road, the wind at their back and the sound of those pipes that brings joy to their souls.
Just as I have come to admire my brothers for the men that they are, I have a new appreciation for my sisters. At times I have been jealous of Vicki and Jill. They each have strengths that through the sadness of losing our father I have come to admire.
Jill is the baby of the family. Whatever she is involved in, is 110%! And taking care of my dad this past year was no exception. A nickname emerged for her through the whole ordeal…Bulldog. Hopefully that gives you an idea of the passion at which she tackled any issue that would arise concerning Dad’s care. If something needed to be taken care of the Bulldog was on it! I told Jill just the other day, after hearing her tell about leading a man to Christ over the internet, that I deeply admire her ability to “Live out loud.” There’s no holding back and no fear. You go girl!!
Vicki is the oldest of my siblings, a manager by trade and used to fixing, organizing and administrating. And I might add is very good at it! She has helped my mother immensely through the maze of paperwork and legalities of dealing with the death of a spouse. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, faithful friend, career woman and part owner with her husband Dave of Allin’s Diner. Whew, it makes me tired just typing all that! Needless to say Vicki juggles it all very effectively and she’s always got a smile on her face which you’ll see in the pictures below.
I don’t want to lead anyone to believe that we are a perfect, flawless family which by the way doesn’t exist. On the contrary. Every last one of us are imperfect reflections of what we are meant to be. It’s just that I have a new love and appreciation for my siblings that maybe I hadn’t clearly understand before.
My sister Vicki and I went to Main street in St. Charles to play with her new Pentax camera. We had so much fun just walking around together, talking and laughing. I was trying to pass onto her the little bit I’ve learned over the years about photography. Personally, I like learning from other photographers better than trying to learn from a book. After I took this picture I looked at my viewfinder I said, “Man, you look like me!” Although technically, I look like HER because she’s the older one. Just sayin’.
Between Vicki and I, neither one of us can remember what was so funny at this moment. They say the memory is the first to go.
This is her new Pentax which by the way she is very excited about. Every Jackson event is very well documented because we all love taking pictures! It’s like we’re the paparazzi family.
There are so many great subjects to photograph on Main Street like this old wagon for example.
My very favorite subject to photograph just happens to also be my favorite little person in the whole wide world. When Bella come’s to our house, she loves to “sving.” She usually starts in the baby sving, then wants to advance to the big girl sving then over to the glider where our little 4lb. dog Levi and I sit with her. One of these days that old glider is going to plop right on the ground from a little too much weight.
She’s just so proud of herself on the big girl sving.
I know what she is saying at this exact moment…”Geese?” Because she says it about 100 times every time she’s at my house. Oh and she say’s “Horse Nap?” about 200 times. There’s a lake behind our house where the geese frequently hang out and there is a small horse ranch on the other side of the lake. When we can’t see the horses we just say they’re napping.
After svinging, Bella usually likes to jump on the trampoline which usually gives her this hairdo because of the static electricity.
Brace yourself. These next few images are not for the squeamish. So if you don’t like creepy crawly things then turn back now!
If you haven’t seen the empty shells stuck on your trees and bushes then maybe you’ve heard the sound of these creatures. If you were to pull into our driveway in the middle of the afternoon the sound from these 13 year Cicada’s is almost deafening and I’m not exaggerating! If you were to look up into our Cottonwood and Bradford Pear trees then you would see them flying from branch to branch. Or maybe you’ve seen the little holes all over the ground from where they have emerged from their 13 year slumber. It seems that we are stuck with these noisy little 2 inch insects for only a few weeks while they mate, drop eggs into the soil then die off until the next generation emerges in another 13 years.
All I can say is that must be one crazy 3 week party! Geez guys, can you hold down the noise!