Something tells me I’m going to love her forever

Look who I got to meet today!  The lovely and talented Miss Ellie Jo!!!

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She really is quite lovely, as anyone can see.

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She’s also quite talented in that THE GIRL CAN SLEEP.

Multiple dogs barking.  Doorbell ringing.  Clothes off.  Clothes on.  Roll her on her side, on her tummy, on her back.  Jiggle her.  Blow softly in her face and whisper in her ear.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ squirm squeak stretch ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

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Doesn’t matter to any of us because everybody loves Ellie Jo.

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Her Gramma, quite lovely and talented herself, is so charmed by Ellie Jo that she volunteered to chauffeur me to our visit and served ably as my photography assistant.

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Here’s a shot I couldn’t have gotten without Gramma:

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All of Ellie Jo’s special people are just as eager to hang out with her and show her off.  Who wouldn’t be?

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At long last, she decided to open her big, dark eyes and what did she find?  Four of us hovering around her, cooing and giggling and immediately asking her to talk to us.

“Um.  Can I help you?”

No break in the chattering and, even worse, no food offered.

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Y’all, the girl is all of 10 days old.  Have you ever SEEN such a clear communicator?!

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Ellie Jo, I got to hold you for nearly an hour today, and I am already in love.

Mom and Dad, good luck finding the willpower to put her down for more than five minutes.  On second thought, hold her every second you possibly can.

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Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Psalm 106:1

 

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Renewed life, transformed bodies

I’m back with Part II of our transformation saga!  (Click here to read Part I.)  My friend Karen shared some of her precious chrysalises with me so that I could document their progress.  What an amazing process to behold!

This whole experience has been an illustration of Revelation 21:5 for me:  He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”  Here new means anew or renewed.  It means renovated, better, of higher excellence, new in character or mode.  The things being made new are connected to what came before but have now passed away.  I hope these photos help stir your holy imagination!

After just a few days each bright green chrysalis looked like this …

 

… and then like THIS after just a couple more days!

 

After emerging from the chrysalis, a new butterfly needs time to finish gaining strength.  During this time it clings to the clear, empty shell that once served as its protective home.

 

It is really good at clinging to safety.  I could feel the strength in its microscopically tiny feet!

 

Every detail is placed with exquisite precision, even details that are invisible to the naked eye.

 

Each phase of development is necessary to produce the end result …

 

… renewed life in a transformed body.

Thank You, Lord, for this promise and this miniature renewal process playing out visibly and repeatedly in Creation.  I look forward to the great renewal to come!

We eagerly await the coming of the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who, by exerting that power which enables Him even to subject everything to Himself, will not only transform but completely refashion our earthly bodies so that they will be like His glorious resurrected body.

Philippians 3:20-21

 

 

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A butterfly’s best friend

If you were a Monarch butterfly making your way through Danbury TX, you would be wise to stop at Karen’s house. Unlike anyone else I know, Karen is a butterfly BFF.

Right now a monarch population explosion is taking place in her backyard, and she’s doing her best to help them thrive. Eggs, tiny caterpillars and fat striped caterpillars abound.

It’s a delicate business, though. Even after allowing delicious milkweed to spring up all over her yard, Karen can’t keep enough food on hand for the swarm of very hungry caterpillars.

See what I mean?  All but one of about 50 of these plants has been stripped bare.  Do you have milkweed in your yard? If so, Karen would love for you to adopt some of her wiggly, ravenous friends — and hurry, please!!

Being a BBFF is a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride.  There’s the thrill of spotting a mother butterfly, followed by the hunt for tiny eggs and the very first baby caterpillars.  The hungry caterpillar stage can be stressful, especially when food runs low and the herd is further thinned by sly green lizards.

But when you notice some of the caterpillars curling up into J-shapes and soon afterward discover the first chrysalises of the season, that’s when the real drama begins.  Will they continue to develop properly?  Will lizards carry them away?

I could stare all day at the delicate gold and sapphire filagree gracing this chrysalis.  See the lines and pattern of the furled wings inside?  Absolutely spectacular.

Soon Karen’s garden will be bursting with a brand new sort of life, this time all aflutter instead of crawling, chewing or quietly waiting to be transformed.  Her new butterfly friends will step fully into their new selves and eventually fly away into their new lives, never to be caterpillars again.  And Karen will be grateful to once again witness the gospel story proclaimed by God’s Creation.

If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation:

everything old has passed away; 

see, everything has become new!

2 Corinthians 5:17

Jennie Goutet - March 23, 2016 - 3:16 am

This is perhaps the most unoriginal comment ever, but your pictures are gorgeous! :-) We used to bring monarch caterpillars inside and watch them become butterflies when I was a kid.

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This bridesmaid is going to light up the room

Ashton’s twin brother is getting married in a couple of weeks!  As all wise bridesmaids do, she tried on her dress and let her mom practice doing her hair and makeup to make sure everything is ready for the big day.

 

Then it was time for our photo session on the back porch, so Ashton’s dad came in to help her into her chariot.

 

Are you ready for this?

No, really.  Are you ready?

You might THINK you’re ready, but I would advise you to really and truly prepare yourself.

 

Sparkle and shine, sweet Ashton!  Your beauty is no surprise to those who adore you.

Your vibrant beauty has gotten inside us — You’ve been so good to us!

We’re walking on air!

All we are and have we owe to God, Holy God of Israel, our King!  

Psalm 89:17-18

Gene - February 19, 2016 - 12:47 pm

So beautiful Ashton … We can’t wait to celebrate at the wedding with y’all 😃 Great pictures capturing these special moments! Awesome … Tears in my eyes …

Andrea Stunz - February 19, 2016 - 1:26 pm

Oh, Laurie. This is so beautiful!! Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.

Grace Kiefer - February 19, 2016 - 2:57 pm

I just love this! Beautiful pictures…Priceless.

Danielle - February 19, 2016 - 7:44 pm

This is priceless! I seriously enjoyed being apart of this memory! Thank you so much for sharing my heart is exploding!

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So lift your voice with timbrel and lyre

These are my favorites, The Oh Hellos.

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Austin. Birmingham. Atlanta. Asheville . Floydfest. Nashville. Louisville. Indianapolis. St. Louis. Memphis. Bellevue CO. Four Corners Folk Festival. Boulder. Lockn Festival. La Jolla. Santa Ana. San Luis Obispo. LA. Fresno. Seattle. Eugene. Portland. George Fox University. Reno. Sacramento. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Oklahoma City. Walrus Audio. Columbia. Kansas City. Des Moines. Omaha. Daytrotter. Minneapolis. Green Bay. Madison. Chicago. Knoxville. Athens. Oxford. Charlottesville. Charleston. Charlotte. DC. NYC Bowery. Baeble Music. NPR Tiny Desk. NYC Terminal 5. Pawtucket. Boston. Philadelphia. Lynchburg. Fayetteville. Austin.  

54 performances in 2015 including 4 festivals and 4 live recording sessions, plus a few radio interviews/unplugged performances for good measure.

5 months of living more on the road than at home.

Thousands upon thousands of miles driven;  millions upon millions of cooped-up-in-the-van hours endured.

So many hotel rooms slept in for not quite enough hours to feel truly rested.

Countless bottles and shrink-wrapped packages of OTC cold medicines and stomach remedies and Advil consumed.

A new album with new music to master plus older crowd favorites to keep fresh.

But these troupers persevered.  They trouped like nobody’s business!

Old Rock House, St. Louis MO 7/31/15

Levitt Shell, Memphis TN 8/1/15

People often ask me if I travel with the band full-time, to which I reply:  I WISH.  Also, to tell the truth: I MIGHT NOT LAST LONG.  Yet if they ever extended the invitation I would drop my normal, comfortable everyday life in a heartbeat.  The pace is grueling and disorienting and intoxicating all at the same time, so I go out as often as I can but mostly cheer from home.  (The shows in bold print above are the ones I attended.)

Four Corners Folk Festival, Pagosa Springs CO 9/5/15

Birch Aquarium at Scripps, La Jolla CA 9/16/15

I love photographing Oh Hellos shows.  Hands down, it is my very favorite thing to do in the whole world.  I love getting to venues with the band for load-in and soundcheck because that gives me a chance to wander around and find angles to try to shoot from.

The Observatory, Santa Ana CA 9/17/15

I love being backstage while these fun people entertain themselves and warm up.  I love meeting their supporting bands and getting to know a bit about their backgrounds and personalities.

SLO Brewing Company, San Luis Obispo CA 9/18/15

I love the nervous energy that builds until it’s time for the band to take the stage.  I love hearing the crowd get quiet for an instant when the lights go down, and then immediately start to cheer as the music begins.

The Cathedral Sanctuary, Los Angeles CA 9/19/15

I love moving around to as many spots as possible during the show to capture individual expressions and full-room shots and small moments and big emotions.  I love knowing these particular musicians well enough to be able to appreciate the unique ways they throw themselves into the music and connect with the crowd.

Varsity Theater, Minneapolis MN 10/22/15

I love the waves of joy and fellowship that wash over everyone in the room, audience and band members alike.  And I love looking through my photos afterwards to find images that tell the story of the night.

Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, Washington DC 11/7/15

A friend pointed out that I have a unique role to play in the journey of this band.  This role combines elements of proud mom and professional photographer and wannabe adventurer and sincere fan and grounding influence, and I am so thankful for the perks and opportunities that come with the job.

Bowery Ballroom, New York NY 9/9/15

Baeble Music, New York NY 11/10/15  (link to session)

It’s a heady thing, this business of performing music for people who either already adore you or are quickly won over. I rejoice in the blessings my kids (allllllll of them) have received, just as I pay close attention for signs of overwhelm and/or conceit.  So far I have honestly been amazed by the level of maturity, consideration and love this bunch shares with one another and all they cross paths with.  My heart is now more tender toward bigger-name artists who seem to have lost their way because I see how very treacherous the path is.  Steady support and honest encouragement only become more crucial when walking through success!

NPR Tiny Desk, Washington DC 11/11/15  (link to concert)

Terminal 5, New York NY 11/11/15  (opened for Shakey Graves)

I’m proud that Tyler and Maggie have a very clear vision of how they want their career to go and have put together a team of people who understand and support the vision so well.  God continues to guide them and they follow with humility and gratitude.  My heart is full!

World Cafe Life, Philadelphia PA 11/14/15

Stubb’s  Outdoor, Austin TX 11/21/15

A beautiful community is forming as like-minded musical artists find one another.  They may be based all over the country and only cross paths for a season, but their friendships are shaping and strengthening worldviews and long-range goals.  I enjoyed photographing several of them during the 2015 touring season.

Eine Blume in St. Louis MO 7/31/15

I’m With Her at Four Corners Folk Festival 9/5/15

Shakey Graves in NYC 11/11/15

Touring together bonds people quickly and permanently.  These three bands — Joseph, Family and Friends and Cereus Bright — are now forever friends of The Oh Hellos.

Joseph in Santa Ana CA 9/17/15

Family and Friends in Philadelphia 11/14/15

Cereus Bright in Minneapolis 10/22/15

As often as I can, I will continue to be within camera-shot of the action.  Look closely enough and you’ll probably spot me up in the balcony, right in front of the stage, standing on tiptoes within the crowd, or sneaking a shot from onstage while the circus provides cover.

(Do you see me?)

The Oh Hellos + Family and Friends + Cereus Bright finale in Minneapolis 10/22/15

(photo by Chelsea Kornse Photography)

Full steam ahead, gang!  I can’t wait to see where 2016 touring takes you so I can tag along!

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

Catherine - January 3, 2016 - 12:15 am

Adored reading this and so grateful that you are part of this journey watching in the wings. There’s a lot of comfort knowing someone is looking out for all of them.

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