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    *DREAMS: getting very close to wrapping up all the work on my end for Junk Gypsy's upcoming book which is available for pre-sale on Amazon and will be out October 4! I'm so proud of all that's gone into it and I think you'll feel like you shouldve paid more for all the junky goodness!

    *BOOT SCOOTIN: more Junk Gypsy goodness...Lane Boots/JG line is availlable! visit laneboots.com to get yours!

    *TEAM NEVER QUIT: shot lifestyle photos for the super amazing Marcus Luttrell/Lone Survivor Foundation. Check the TNQ's website for their fabulous line of goods!

    *PERSONAL: hoping to catch up on some blogging this summer with our trips to DC and NYC last fall. *cross my fingers*

    *AVAILABILITY: several senior sessions for this Fall already in the book...please inquire early if you are interested in senior or family sessions this Fall. I will be "out of office" June-August.

HOW FAR ONE CAN GO

it’s a great question.

“how far can one go?”

found the answer this weekend and i have to say

i’m a little proud of myself.

this month’s boy scout adventure was

to camp at a swamp in louisiana.

yes a swamp. a REAL swamp.

with alligators, snakes, weird sound making critters…in dark. at night. that’s no lights.

originally hubby was scheduled to go.

my right hand. my hero.

the one that would haul everything for me,

put up my tent,

put down a nice inflatable comfy bed…etc…

but due to the unscheduled tsunami that hit our area in houston

plans were changed.

turns out a leak in the roof can put a damper on your plans.

haha jokes.

as luck would have it,  me and the bff

were all in the same boat (get it boat?! :P)…

Husbands couldn’t go.

Sons wanted to go.

we decided to ride it out together.

power in numbers.

to Lafayette we go.

first a PIT STOP AT BUCEES for

some necessary hip hop nonsense.

5 hours later after a couple of detours, turn arounds, and potty breaks we arrived in lafayatte at roughly midnight.

ever arrive at a swamp at midnight?

Not optimal.

thankfully the men folk volunteers took good care us.

on a side note– i’d like to make a PSA to unwed women of the world:

when you are interviewing for husbands, let me encourage you to give extra points to

any man who was a boy scout or is a scout leader.

they are made of a special kind of fiber.

these in particular just took our ginormous cabana tent out of our little lady

hands and pitched it in minutes.

did i mention we were on a bank of a very small peninsula on a swamp

with absolutely NO barrier to the water 2-3 feet from our tent IN THE DARK?!

it was highly possible we could’ve went for a swim had they not stepped up or sept on waterlogged grass.

my hubby was so thrilled they took such great care of us.

and our boys did a fine job of setting up their tents in the dark as well.

yay boys!

this was the view we had once day light broke.

cute little reptiles everywhere.

took this shot from a boat later on…our glamping cabana is the one on the right.

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first thing in the morning was flag ceremony.

onto breakfast.

i brought my own little setup b/c i like my coffee a certain way.

yes I’m impossible in Louisiana too.

it just starts my day off right.

i pre-ground the beans at home to make things easier.

after that it’s just a matter of boiling water.

i was considering buying a really expensive water boiling thug-a-ma-jig

on amazon but i ended up waiting too long and had to get something quick.

so i got this little pop up stove at academy for like $6-7? it comes

with some kind of pellets that you light and let me tell you – they FIRE up!

they boil water and milk fast. it’s smaller than a sandwich too so that’s nice.

and then there was this.

men who cook.

Make that — men who cook REALLY REALLY well.

fabulous pancakes and bacon anyone?

someone said “camp food just tastes better” and i guess that’s what it was.

That and I want the one cooking.

talk about feeling spoiled!

seriously amazing guys.

meanwhile the kiddos made their own food.

they had scrambled egg tacos.

maceo had hot sauce on his which was pretty funny considering he’s never done that at home.

gotta love how scouts makes a boy feel manlyyyyyy!

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made my mama heart proud to see him take the initiative to do his

part and wash pots and pans after his own dishes.

all without being asked.

see what i mean about how scouts makes good men?!

next up was the swamp tour!

riding in a boat with a very little sides in a real swamp. yep.

it was breathtaking.

mother nature in full effect.

you don’t typically associate the word “swamp” with beauty but that is exactly what it was.

Pure, raw, unfiltered, ecosystem.

a photographer’s dream.

a carpet of lush green leaves and lilies floating over water, sprawling mystical trees, and cascading moss everywhere you look….

sure there was God knows what under it but

what i found is that if you just put it out of mind – your heart will pump

at a less erratic pace.

i mean…how could there be gators under something so dreamy?

and these trees. these magical cypress trees.

i expected a gnome or a fairy to float on out.

200 year old cypress

we went for miles and miles and ended up in the open

waters of Lake Martin.

very serene with fisherman here and there.

the weather was ideal. high 60s-low 70s and the ever so perfect light breeze to keep us cool.

we passed some of the troop.

 

Lake Martin is known for the variety of wild shore birds including

the blue heron, egrets, osprey, spoonbills, eagles, and many more.

It is protected by the Nature Conservancy and there are rules and regulations.

what stood out to me the most is how completely spotless it was.

i kid you not when i say i did not see 1 single water bottle or piece of trash over the 2 hour tour we took.

i didn’t have a higher power lens on me to zoom in to get up close details.

But  i can see why wildlife photographers would

be mesmerized at Lake Martin.

This bird – the anhinga – spreads its wings to dry in order to fly.

it stays perched like this for quite some time

making for spectacular photos.

see this girl on the right?

she’s in stealth mode.

don’t blink for a second.

look the the left and you’ll see 8-9 baby gators sitting on the log.

it’s gator nursery.

she obviously needed a little space but don’t you think for a

minute she’s going to let you get up close to those babies.

she came up To say hi when we just looked over their way.

 we turned around to this scene.

dude in a kayak and another tour up close and personal with a gator at least 5-6 feet.

our tour guide told us that gators can jump the equivalent of their length which means

this gator was being pretty nice considering what he was capable of.

guess kayak dude didn’t hear that part if

the tour.

we were impressed.

the next gator we saw was perched upright on the tree above.

i didn’t get a good photo of it at first b/c we all decided it had to be fake.

it was so still and perfect and practically standing up on the tree.

no way it’s real we said.

and then we got closer and this happened.

towards the end of our tour and it did not seem like 2 hours had passed but it had.

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next the boys went on a hike. a really long hike.

i decided i would give mine some distance to explore and a refreshing mini nap didn’t hurt none. that didn’t keep me from peeking in on his tent.

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SEVEN miles later he returned tired & hot.

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soon began the dinner preparations…

another crazy good meal provided by our fantastic cook/host.

crawfish, crab, shrimp, potatoes, corn….yep!

the men were pretty much in a daze just thinking about it.

kids got to touch and hold crawfish.

grown ups got to eat the crawfish

Scouts are responsible for cooking their own food in each group/patrol.

some of which were very creative!

this patrol had “cajun pizza”.


maceos’ group had spaghetti and meatballs.

they seemed pretty content.

and there that boy is again…washing dishes.

you’d think he did it at home!

he does have  chores but dishes aren’t one of them…may need to rethink that one.

after dinner, kids had free time.

some sat and reflected on life.

some played music.

some grabbed fishing poles

some stood around looking at snakes crawl up the bank.

like literally crawl up the bank.

nothing to see here….

some did people watching

some launched (with air) things like crawfish into the swamp.

this is our leader Louis.

Louis is an incredible person.

Not only because he devotes so many hours to the scout cause but be/c you

can see how he truly takes joy and pride in it.

and the kids see it too.

it’s not an easy feat – he somehow maintains a respect from the kids all while having fun with them.

that is IMPOSSIBLE usually.

i saw him re-direct bad behaviors but never with causing shame.

i saw him constantly praise kids doing good things.

i saw him let insignificant things slide.

i saw him allow the kids to lead  themselves but still offering advice when absolutely necessary.

truly, what a blessing he is to the troop.

ALL of the volunteers were exactly the same (i’m sorry i don’t know more names).

all so welcoming and helpful to the kids.

a perfect balance.

talk about making boys happy

maybe too happy?

you  know it’s a kick butt camping trip when the police show up!

J/k….it wasn’t a big deal.

someone thought they were shooting ammo in the lake at the gators

but no. just compressed air.

my favorite memory of the whole time we were there….

maceo said to me, “mom! we are in lousiana! we camping at a swamp in Louisiana!”

love making memories with this boy and i love that he gets it.

what a sunset. the stuff of travel guides.

next was campfire and the iprov of telling jokes & scary stories, doing skits, and whatever comes to mind.

always the brave one.

he did a sing along he made up.

and it ended with a mexican hat dance.

yes it did.

then it was time for bed.

the air was chilly – not freezing – but 60 degrees.

i went to bed thinking how blessed we are to have this fantastic experience…

sleeping under the stars at a swamp in louisiana as maceo had said.

i should’ve recorded the sounds– it was a symphony of night creatures…

some sounding human at times. made me understand the whole

bud-wei-ser frogs of the Super Bowl years ago.

i forgot to mention there was also a herd of cows right next to us.

yep. cows, frogs, COYOTES howling, things hissing and buzzing.

things plopping in and out of the water right next to our tent.

but i really wasn’t scared.

I’m serious!

my tent was zipped up.

nobody was yelling that they were being eaten alive….

and you won’t believe this but we didn’t get ONE single

mosquito bite the whole 3 days!!!

apparently the mosquitos don’t like a substance in the trees?

when you put it all together– it made for a great story and trip.

THANK YOU JESUS!

speaking of jesus…

i love that we ended with a church service the next morning.

this was a remarkable group of people.

the boys were very sweet, helpful, independent, respectful, clean, funny, and had just GREAT attitudes about being there.

the adult leaders were the same and much more.

we’re still kinda new to  Troop 533 but i can honestly say

i am so happy we are here and i’m so glad we didn’t let the flood situation keep

us from coming.

we risked much but the wonderful adventure we had made it worth it.

 

PEOPLE OF ROUND TOP

initially my plans were to do a post on  the

fashions of round top.

technically this idea came to me last fall (2015)…

spend a half-hour there and you’ll quickly pick up on the reality that

what you are wearing is almost as important at what you are buying.

true story.

if it’s fringy, leathery, strappy, colorful, turquoisy, blue-jeany…

chances are you are following the dress code just right.

and if you’re not that’s ok too.

 somewhere along the way i couldn’t help but notice all the cute girls and the statements

they were making with jeans, skirts, blouses. rhinestones, necklaces, boots, jewelry, glasses,

hats, hair, purses…

you name it.

so i started asking one simple question:

can i take your photo?

99% of the folks said yes.

reminiscent of  HUMANS of NEW YORK

but in a Texas Antiques Week repertoire.

sometimes this led to a convo about what were the photos for

and sometimes not.

it was SO MUCH FUN y’all and became a game of sorts…

see how many “characters” i could find and photo.

yes, characters…

everyone has a story and even if i didn’t know it – i made one up.

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2 outlaw gypsies busted flat by the side of the road….

bohemian princess on antique safari?

texas college girl taking a day off from semi-finals?

gypsy from arizona?

ok that’s really who she is but you didn’t know that.

rebel, stylish teen,

homeschooled by elton john and

doing research for his next runway project from NYC?

rock n roll band dudes (that guitars gave it away) maybe a heathen in there?

gypsy dude selling off his secret stash of venus’ to fund his shoe addiction?

prom queen side job to pay for a righteous designer duds??

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random mariachi kid and who’s had too much kool aid to drink

bonnie & clyde still madly in love stopping for sip after running shoot out in arkansas?

clark kent disguised as traveling musician crooning on a porch?

part songstress/ part sorcerer mesmerizing the crowd with her

siren songs and sweet voice?

runaway bandit girl using her pistol as a belt and styling boots she

won in a rodeo?

mom/writer girl running away from home to have an adventure?

ok so this one is somewhat true….

i asked this darling looking woman to pose for me b/c i was obsessed with her

earrings not knowing this was Jen Hatmaker.

yep. i need to get out from behind my camera more often.

super cute tween girl channeling her inner archie/ amy allen

in her new turquoise junk gypsy boots (note  tags still on)

super hot farmer’s wife chick steppin out for a minute from

tending to all the cute baby chicks, piggies, and lambs

b/c i know i’ll get at least 23 emails asking…

this gorgeous necklace (which i will lust over till i get my hands on one)

is by the UNBELIEVABLY TALENTED

marti agassi found here.

rowdy college kids playing air guitars and carrying on

wine sommelier visiting from california coast

thelma & louise taking a break from running from the law men to buy some

cute cute matching shirts…

found some time to stop in and refuel at my fav place for grub

at Zapp Hall...

Zapp Hall where family is essential to making a hundred thousand people’s dream

of good foodie type food, best tea in Warrenton and abroad, and spicy CRACKers essential

to the serious flea marketeer.

these people running a whole circus inside that beautiful chippy building

with heavenly eats cranking out a mile a minute….

making survivors out of all of us hungry folks during antiques week.

the matriarch queen of it all who fulfilled her royal duties by

smiling and giving free hugs to folks along with keeping me company.

madam curator  of the flea market?

girl next door with a root beer emergency?

some damn fine gypsy women on their way to a cowgirl gypsy runway show?

runaway mom support group?

scratch that. 21st birthday girls?

liven it the hell-up/ lookin’fine gals!

those glasses tho!

celebrity out for a stroll looking inconspicuous in purple boots?

fancy cowgirl from montana maybe? or wyoming?

hotel california girl looking for spirits from 1969?

ladies of aberdeenshire on a shopping  trip for the queen?

 cheerleader turned interior designer?

684A1031

mayor of all the flea markets in warrenton?

johny depp’s styling team?

hot mom from texas?

jason aldean/cowgirl rocker fan club?

jesus fan club president hiding out from the paparazzi?

cowboy hat salesmen?

every girls best fashion consultant girlfriend?

piano guy  from central park tinkering whimsical notes on his magical piano?

click here to see the piano man play

world renowned antique car expert?

 

buyers from ralph lauren?

law mens keeping the peace? chasing bandits?

3 sisters on the run after robbing a corn silo? feed bandits?

make that 4 feed bandits!?

684A0672

technically not a ‘people’ by most but

how can i NOT include this.

all that and pigtails too!

so my imagination runs away sometimes…

but whatever these folks are wearing (or not wearing in the last picture)

something i have learned is that i just LOVE the people-watching

and the people-meeting i get to do in Round Top and abroad.

looking at the collage of all these humans

makes my heart leap with love.

it is a class picture and sampling

of  the Junkers, the gypsies, the cowgirls and Cowboys who are living their dream and finding away to make that happen.

you must admit that it is admirable.

IMG_0611

My friend Shay and I were stuck in traffic for an hour along HWY 237 and even though traffic was trickling along we both observed  how people were so nice…smiling, saying hi, asking about the traffic, etc…

and we came to the conclusion that it’s just the type of crowd that’s attracted

to Texas Antique’s Week in general.

kindred spirits all the way.

Mostly…laid back people who have a love and appreciation

for days gone by. for keeping in step with good manners.

for treasures re-discovered.

for good times.

well most of em’. I do know a couple crazies that frequent antiques week…you know who you are.

i pray that Round Top/Warrenton stays this way for many more years to come

and i get to hear the real stories behind all these beautiful faces.

NOTE:

if you are featured in this post and would like a copy sent to you

please email me at aprilpizana@gmail.com .

please do  not screen shot as it is a lower quality.

please do not post/re-use without permission.

where hope still floats

last week i had the lovely fortune to drive

to smithville, tx for a family shoot.

if smithville sounds familiar you may just be a fan of the movie hope floats

or you may just be a smart cookie to have found such an oasis of texas beauty at it’s finest.

driving in it’s plain to see why anyone would want to shoot a movie here

and even better — to live here.

this is the back yard of the Dietrich family…

a sweet entrance with lush prairies and rolling hills to the texas hill country.

This a property with many treasures like this old wagon that hadn’t seen

the light of day any decades.

an absolute D R E A M to someone like me who loves vintage things

and then to be an actual family heirloom?

I could only HOPE to dream of something this amazing!

I’m told their family has owned the property for almost a 100 years.

when you think about what has come and gone in almost a century

and to still have claim to land your people’s people lived on, worked on, dreamed on…

it’s like a fairy tale to me.

another treasure…having 2 sets of grandparents present, healthy,

and beautiful on a gorgeous spring day, on a wonderful piece of land…

most can only HOPE for such a blessing.

a darling girl and her sweet family

always nice to have an updated photo done of yourself.

something our kids cherish for always.

such a treat to photo these 2. both so cute and both so easy to photograph.

sighhhhhh….can you feel the cool breeze and smell the fresh cut grass?

kids always seem to keen me entertained for some reason.

more gorgeous extended family! not married a year yet–

i think we can still call them newlyweds?

 

i think i can call this girl a family mascot.

not the AVERAGE family mascot– a vulture!

Im told she’s been perched in the tree above for a few years keeping watch.

and now she’s adding to her family.

guess she knows this is great place for family too!

this is how we all hope to have it.

sitting on rocker on the front porch with our love

rockin’ along and loving the day.

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and holding hands aint too bad either.

this is the dream we all wish for.

yes gorgeous homes and cars and things are nice…

but at the end of the day and a hundred years later–

isn’t this what we all hope and pray for?

i know i do

and i’m pretty sure our families before did the same.

a little balance

ROUNDTOP-APRIL-PIZANA

it says something special

when an 11 year old boy puts down round top, tx

on his spring break to-do list.

and this entry was in good company.

to give you a gage…

galveston and san antonio were on the list too.

round top, pop. 90….

no amusement parks,

no malls with designer shoes,

no movie theaters…

really not even many places to have lunch this early in the show.

not even a real traffic light.

so why round top?

after a week of going to the beach and doing some of the above

I thought his idea of going to round top was a perfect balance.

i mean, you could actually write this trip up as a museum experience

with all the history…..so technically we could even say this was an educational field trip.

right?

first stop

gypyville

April-pizana-JUNK-GYPSY-COLLAGE

my very own nacho libre…

by day—smart kid, scout, piano player…

by the weekend — road trip warrior, junkin’ aficionado, historian, lover of tacos & big red.

he may not be a teenager yet but trust me- he knows a good time

and the BEST times always start at Junk Gypsy Headquarters.

we raised him right.

Really that’s any time during the year now that we’re spoiled with a stand alone store.

He’s just as mesmerized as i am– SIX years later and I’m still in wow when i take one step inside.

I couldn’t photo much inside this time b/c there were lots of shoppers

but you can look here to get an idea…

palm reader told him he’s going to be rich n famous!

hope that means a beach house for mama.

Next stop

THE COMPOUND

owned and operated by mark massey

who has a great story you should read

(increase your knowledge of round top and all).

I first visited last fall but only one building was up at the time.

6 months later…a lot has changed. there are many more barns up.

really something special to see.

gorgeous  barns, manicured grass, fountains, free parking, a/c portable restrooms….

classssss—eeeee joint!

always a great stop—

Old World Antiques out of La Grange.

I feel like they are really outstanding at collecting collections.

i love collections.

think it has something to do with

being a libra (scales of balance and all).

they have a wide range of antiques/artifacts…from the very unique to the conservative.

i don’t think it’s possible to shop here and not find SOMETHING you must have.

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a little obsessed with these even though i have one.

 i need a another.

a collection to create balance with.

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oh for the love of texture!!!

vanna, can i buy a vowel?

i bought a pair of these last fall and i can’t tell you how over the moon i am for them still.

some kind of baking trays maybe?

i use super magnets and can use them for pictures, art, different holidays

or whatever

strikes the mood…this was xmas for example.

i was SOOO lucky they fit PERFECTLY in the spot i had in mind

and i didn’t even measure when i bought them!

round top magic for sure.

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stopped to talk to Ms. Gladys who has the perfect name b/c

she made maceo pretty glad to have some hot chocolate.

very awesome rugs guy (plz send me your name if you read this!)

so this a really good example of what is at the compound…

very well thought out, set ups with fabulous vignettes.

think marburger.

if you know me

you know i am a fan of the movie Julie & Julia.

not only inspiring but the julia childs side of it has some ridiculously delish eye candy.

didn’t keep up with award shows that year but surely the set designer was honored

with something gold…

this is judy jones’ plaid veranda shop.

first. judy is a hoot.

kind of girl you could sit and talk to a while.

she had like 10 things i was willing to get in debt for.

show him a map or something with culture and he’s in heaven.

he was lured in by all the euro treasures at eneby home.

kind of spot where OCD folks can take a deep sigh of relief.

everything lined up and pretty.

and collections.

i told you how i feel about collections.

and these lovely girls walking away with something pretty to take home.

i get the BIGGEST  kick out of watching people walk away with treasures.

does that make me a voyeur?

oye!

round top is not for every kid.

but if your kid loves history and has a quirky sense of humor

it is PARADISE and it is IDEAL.

this is the field excess.

and it is excessively amazing.

please don’t count how many times i say amazing…it’s plenty i know.

i need a thesaurus i know.

an amazing thesaurus.

excess is packed to the brim with so many THINGS.

very good things.

it’s one of the more eclectic fields.

a mix of artisan, collector, garden, a fabulous hoarder’s dream.

it’s nice an organized with plenty of space to walk and browse and all the stuff.

so much stuffffffff.

you could come to round top and ONLY visit this one field and never leave

and never run out of stuff to look out.

there’s even an excess 2 across the street.

i never even made it there.

shocking for my piano player to see….the gutting of a piano.

so interesting!

the story behind this person….

look at the amazing self control i have!

you didn’t think i could leave that grocery scale in round top did you?

reminded me of an old store named Clayton’s on Studewood that i lived across the street from

growing up in the Houston Heights.

my “rule” is that if i walk away and can’t

stop thinking of it — i have my permission to buy it.

did i mention I’m a libra –the “scales”– very balanced.

yes that’s it.

Hello Vendors!

Please feel free to contact me if your booth is featured here and you would like

your name linked– i will be happy to add.

I sometimes forget to get the name or it gets lost in the mix.

Please feel free to share this post but  I ask for NO SCREEN SHOTS or use of photos posted as

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Feel free to contact me at aprilpizana@gmail.com for more info.

THANK YA!

TEAM NEVER QUIT

i never ever take for granted the people God chooses to put in my path

on my journey of photography.

i’m very serious.

if i’ve ever taken your photo

you should know that i drive away thinking about our interaction.

hopefully, about the fun we had and the story i’m going to tell….

I think about the thing that really spoke to me about you and what God is trying to show me through you.

I drive home feeling inspired.

 this meeting was no different and yet it was completely different.

all began when my junkin’ sistas at Junk Gypsy

asked me to shoot a project they did To be included

in their new and upcoming super-amazing-fabulous-terrific book.

The project was a desk for a very special American, Marcus Luttrell.

I don’t want to give away the deets on this special story so you’ll just have

swoon over the this teaser pic till the book comes out,

sweet Mr. Rigby included free of charge.

so I took a couple shots and Marcus’s wife Melanie,

the sweetest southern girl bright shiny smile and long cowgirl hair included,

and we started talking about Round Top and all the fun there.

VERY obvious to see why Marcus fell head over heals for her– she’s such a genuine person

and someone you could talk to for hours.

She doesn’t know this but she’s  my new bff

(don’t worry i don’t have time to stalk you melanie 😛 not right now at least ).

i digress.

So after we got to speaking about this and that Melanie explained that

they were in need of having Marcus’ product line TEAM NEVER QUIT photo’d.

next thing i know my weekend plans were changed and i was thrilled.

i have some confessions to make.

i don’t keep up well on big current events.

i don’t watch a lot of tv (unless it’s recorded and even then).

i don’t watch too much news.

i don’t read many books (sad i know).

i don’t watch movies that involve high action, violence, heart pumping disasters.

i can’t take the anxiety….yes I’m a delicate flower and that’s ok mostly.

I say all this b/c i want you to understand how it could be that i was not more familiar

with the story of Marcus Luttrell, the author of Lone Survivor.

don’t get me wrong.

when i showed up of the shoot, i was  aware of who he was.

but there was so much more i didn’t know.

Melanie was so generous to give me a couple copies to read

to which I’m proud to say I’m on page 19 (hey i’ve been editing like mad!)

and I’m already loving the hearing the story through Marcus’ “voice” in the book.

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since i knew i’d be coming back just a few days later, i really wanted to

understand what Team Never Quit was about.

Obviously, i couldn’t read the book in just a few days so i caved and watched the movie

which i already had on iTunes.

everyone says the book is much better than the movie

and i can’t even imagine how that will be.

i bawled my eyes out.

like worse than a chick-flick bawling.

like worse than steel magnolias or terms of endearment.

i just couldn’t believe what marcus had lived through and what his fellow soldiers

endured in operation Red Wing.

of course i don’t want to be responsible for any spoilers

but here’s one thing i learned from this chance meeting.

i learned that i am selfish.

i can’t believe how selfish i am to say that “i don’t watch violent movies”

or “i don’t have time to read” and in the interim miss and not take in

what our military lives through and dies for all in the name of our freedom.

Don’t get me wrong- i’ve always had HUGE respect for military.

but this is a new enlightenment.

this is mourning and acknowledging what they have done and

are still doing every single day for all of us and allowing myself to take that in.

this is what Im learning in the short time i’ve began this journey.

I hope to understand more…even if it’s uncomfortable to hear about,

gives me anxiety, or makes me bawl my eyes out.

WE NEED TO CRY FOR OUR SOLDIER and

WE NEED TO PRAY FOR OUR SOLDIERS.

melanie and her super-star assistant in charge of lots of things, kristen,

chose the most fabulous gorgeous girls ever for our lifestyle/product shoot.

not only did they make my job easy bc they were total eye candy

but they were the sweetest girls too!

we had amazing amazing california amazing weather.

it was a suitable perfect day to photo Team Never Quit.

and before i get 2000 emails….these and more lovely shirts will be available at

http://teamneverquit.com

VERY shortly.

The Luttrell’s son Hunter who is handsome and very respectful young man.

He was in the middle of getting his senior photos done and was nice enough to

model a couple things for us.

hard to believe this girl’s never modeled before….

stunning and such a character! personality for days!

marcus’ guide dog, mr. rigby, may look like he’s off duty but

this ole boy worked hard. he helped us out on so many shots

and of course security duty.

this is the most calm dog i have every been around. just love him to pieces.

onto these beauties.

SISTERS!

i told their mom that it’s not fair they have THIS many good looking kids in one family.

Meet Alex…not only is she strikingly gorgeous but she does make up.

she did all the sisters’ make up and it was flawless.

these sisters really were something special.

they were all on the same team and very supportive of each other.

helping each other to look their best and relax for the camera…

it really warmed my heart to see such sweet sister love.

TNQ 13 LO RES

mr. rigby wanting to show off his ASSets too.

TNQ 44 LO RES

then we had marcus come in for some shots.

his son Axe showed off his awesome modeling skills….

and this lip-biting….where did he learn THAT so young!?

god bless these little girls. they don’t have  a chance.

as much fun as it all was….THIS was my favorite part of the shoot.

seeing marcus with his kids.

so much love and so natural…an very good balance of love and being a dad.

then came miss addie.

goodness gracious this just made my heart full.


3 years old and not to be outdone by brother…Addie soooo adorable & crazy smart. 

look at these little cherub faces.

i actually felt a little choked up taking these pics

thinking of the blessings that God has blessed

Marcus with in his beautiful, wife (who was making all this happen behind the scenes)

and then blessed them both with these sweet angels plus their big brother.

TNQ 146B LO RES

i hope this is displayed at her wedding one day!

they’ll be each other’s first BFF’s.

then marcus had to run off to a speaking commitment.

 

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and i got to meet this special lady, Holly Luttrell, aka mama luttrell.

if you ever get a chance to hear her speak or just look for her on you tube for an interview…

she is the sweetest lady (And get a load of that amazing hair). She just has a loving spirit about her. i love people like that.

so much respect for you beautiful ms holly and these hands which I know have made good use of praying countless nights for her sons, wiped away many tears, and clapped with great joy too.

we were modeling the shirts but the bracelets were not put on for this photo.

this is real every day life for the luttrell family.

reminding us to Remember Everyone Deployed (RED friday).

it’s such a little thing to do but speaks so loudly to those who are listening

and even to those who need to listen more like me.

our veterans and their families need this support and to know they are loved.

we owe them so much.

In the end there’s this poem.

This is what came to mind after learning about marcus’s story.

I think it captures the epitome of what Team Never Quit is about and reminds me of Marcus.

I am so grateful that this opportunity presented itself in my life.

I feel like i’ve gained so much wisdom in such a short time…

learning the story of marcus and his brothers,

meeting his brave wife and all that she is,

seeing the light in his kids’ eyes,

seeing that that light remains even after the dust have settled….

it’s a lot to reflect on and take in

and i will be forever grateful.

we must never quit.

god bless our servicemen.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

-Dylan Thomas

 

C O N T A C T