The Jackson Family

Most years, the fall season in Charlotte seems to last about ten days. So I’ve been thankful for the long weeks of unseasonably warm weather that we’ve had this year. As autumn hung around into the late days of November, the trees hung onto their leaves longer than usual. The warm afternoon sun and the yellow and orange leaves provided a gorgeous backdrop for this beautiful family. Seriously, could they be any cuter?!

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The Anderson Family

Leslie loves to tell the story of when we first met. We lived on the same hall in a freshman dorm and she invited me to watch a movie with her and her roommate. And I didn’t go. In looking back, I guess our friendship could have ended there before it even began. But Leslie didn’t give up on me – the girl who blew off her invitation. By the end of that freshman year, Leslie was one of the people I had most enjoyed getting to know.

Now, 14 years later, my friendship with Leslie is one of my most cherished. We’ve seen each other through heartbreaks and loss, through countless jobs and transitions. We’ve lived together, traveled together, and we’ve had the honor of standing beside each other as we each said ‘I do’.

Leslie and her husband Mark recently welcomed their second baby. And they were kind enough to move to the Carolinas before doing so. I’m ecstatic to have one of my best friends living close enough for me to visit any time I want. And I’m so grateful to have gotten the chance to take these pictures of their precious family. Love you Andersons!

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The Witt Family

Sometimes it feels like my own childhood wasn’t so very long ago. Having kids in front of my camera can send me back to my own days of being ten and just wanting to explore my surroundings. I love the freedom kids have to truly be themselves – a freedom it seems we lose as we grow older and grow more concerned with the opinions of others. On this particular day, these siblings were definitely more interested in exploring the creek than in having their picture taken. And that’s just fine with me.

This fun family is in the midst of a busy season of life. And I’m so grateful we found time to grab some pictures. These are a few of my favorites from our recent afternoon together.

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Germany

A recent stay in Europe began with a few days in Munich. It’s a city proud of its history of brewing beer and building BMWs. Somehow the third largest city in Germany manages to feel clean and quiet.

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Just 20 minutes outside of Munich is the Dachau Concentration Camp. Opened in 1933, Dachau was the first camp the Nazis operated in Germany. For twelve years, thousands of prisoners lived and worked and died on these grounds. We listened to stories of suffering and brutality while we stood in the rooms, in the cells, in the chambers where it had occurred. edit-27

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One rental car and two hours on the autobahn found us in the southeastern corner of Bavaria. A region rich in history and natural beauty, it is home to small mountain villages and fairy-tale palaces. We had just enough time to roam the streets of Berchtesgaden and the grounds of this royal residence.

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One last stop before leaving Germany. The view from the top of Mount Jenner, overlooking Lake Konigssee.

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Nashville

Last fall, my sister and brother-in-law moved across the state line and settled in the Music City. Not quite a year of living in Nashville, and they seem to feel right at home. In a city where the foodie scene is booming and live music venues are on every corner, one weekend is not enough.

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Beach Week

Every summer I get the chance to spend a week vacationing with my family. And most summers, those vacations take place along Florida’s scenic Highway 30-A. Powder white sand and turquoise waters have drawn beachgoers to this area of the panhandle for decades. Pastel colored beach communities have been developing along the highway for as long as I can remember. And year after year, we find ourselves coming back, ordering the same dishes at the same restaurants, riding our bikes along the same pathways, and watching the same sunsets. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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The Griffins

I’ve had the pleasure of marrying into a friendship with these two. They’ve known my husband since college and theirs was the first wedding I ever attended with Michael. I love being with the Griffins because they are both so genuine and so inviting. There’s no pretense, no pressure, just authenticity and warmth.

And warmth is what we needed on this chilly morning. Mike and Lois were all smiles in spite of the cold weather. It just gave them more reason to get close and cuddly.

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Glacier National Park

In the northwestern corner of Montana, among the peaks of the continental divide, are one million acres of protected splendor. A paradise of wildlife and mountain peaks. A place to experience the grandeur and the creativity of our Creator.

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Anyone wanting to drive the width of the park, must take a journey on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The only road to traverse the park, it is 53 miles of narrow and winding pavement. The curves are harrowing but the views are majestic. If you look closely at the photo below, you can see cars making their way up into the mountains.

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If Glacier National Park is on your bucket list, go now! Scientists studying this area are estimating that all the glaciers may disappear by 2030 if global warming continues at the current rate. Today, there are about 25 glaciers remaining in the park.  One of the largest, Jackson Glacier, is pictured below.

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This park is home to black and grizzly bears. This guy was our closest bear encounter

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Thomas

When his mom asked if I was interested in watching him a few days a week, I never imagined what a gift it would be. What a gift he would be. I have loved our year together and will miss our weekly visits. This little man has a really special place in my heart!

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