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.

TOH band pics_25

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.

Jonatha Maia - January 19, 2017 - 9:42 am

Oi sou do Brasil e eu amo os Oh Hellos, a energia em suas músicas me faz querer ser uma pessoa melhor, amo cada nota tocada, cada poesia cantada. Seria lindo se eles viessem ao Brasil um dia, não perderia por nada. Quero q minha filha escote The Oh Hellos e que os filhos dela escutem The Oh Hellos e assim passe de geração em geração. Achei lindo suas postagem sobre o Oh Hellos, como você fala com amor sobre eles. Que O Senhor te abençoe de forma grande e que Ele te de força para tirar muitas fotografias do Oh Hellos. Um grande abraço com carinho.

admin - January 19, 2017 - 12:17 pm

Hi, I’m from Brazil and I love Oh Hellos, the energy in your songs makes me want to be a better person, I love every note played, every poem sung. It would be nice if they came to Brazil one day, I would not miss it. I want my daughter to cut The Oh Hellos and let her children listen to The Oh Hellos and so pass from generation to generation. I found your post about Oh Hellos beautiful, how you speak with love about them. May the Lord bless you in a great way and may He give you strength to take many photographs of Oh Hellos. A big hug with affection.

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Created to do good things

Trust me.

This is a guy you want to get to know (if you’re one of the few people in the world yet to become his new best friend).


Terrell Powell (or Terry if you’ve known him since elementary school) is a terrific, prolific artist based in Austin but often found at art shows across the nation.  I had fun catching up with him today while he was in Brazoria County for the Texas Gulf Coast Arts Festival.  During our growing up years we all knew Terry was immensely gifted, and it’s thrilling to see how faithfully he has used those gifts to make the world a more beautiful place.  Throughout his career he has created striking imagery for all sorts of businesses large and small, taught art students in multiple settings, and built up a following of devoted collectors of his work.

Truly the man is never not working, and his love for creating is obvious and endearing.

Terrell’s latest beautiful idea is something you’ll also want to know about.  You can read all about it HERE, but the nutshell version is this:  He has adapted some of his cheeriest, most colorful paintings into huge 3-D benches, and he wants to see them installed in children’s hospitals.  This is a costly project to get underway, so he’s started a Kickstarter campaign that ends just four weeks from now.  Please take a look at the Children’s Art Bench Project video and consider contributing to help brighten the lives of kids and their families!

You can see more of his work HERE and follow his Children’s Art Bench Project HERE to keep up-to-date on its progress.

And when you get the chance to meet Terry and see his work in person, be prepared for the friendliest bear hug you may ever receive.  Welcome to the Terrell Powell Fan Club!

For we are God’s masterpiece.

He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,

so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

Ephesians 2:10

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The life of the party

Care to guess why this lovely lady is smiling so radiantly?

Because she’s the Birthday Girl, that’s why!  And if you’ll promise not to accuse me of fibbing, I’ll tell you what milestone birthday she’s celebrating on this very day.



As long as I’ve known Pinky, she’s had this beautiful hair color, but once it was bright red.  I’ve heard stories about those earlier years when she was a nurse and then Angleton mayor.  I’ve witnessed what a strong counterpart she was to her beloved husband Joe, how tirelessly she has served her church family, and how devoted she is to her own family. A mover and shaker, queen of hospitality, world traveler, quick wit, woman of God, welcomer of all people, courageous zipliner, great friend — that’s the Pinky who is treasured by so many.

Family and friends gladly gathered a few days early for some yummy cake …


… spirited singing …


… and laughter and hugs with our Girl of Honor.


Pinky’s youngest admirers had a grand time both indoors and outdoors.


And most of her large family (3 kids, 13 grandkids, 5 great-grandkids and lots of spouses) posed for a portrait to commemorate the occasion.


How blessed we all are to know and love you, Pinky!  Truly you are showing us what it means to have life and have it to the FULL.

How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?

1 Thessalonians 3:9


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