Monday, December 20, 2010

On my Grandmother's Birthday...

Today would have been my Grandmother's 91st birthday. 
I had the best Granny in the world.  I am not just saying that either.  I know sometimes people look back through rose colored glasses and see things as better than they were but that is simply not the case here.  She was the best.  Want to know how I know?  Because even when I was a child, a teenager, a young adult...whenever, I knew she was the best.  She was the type of Granny that opened the door wide open for her grandchildren.  She would host New Year Eve party's for us and all six of the grandchildren would spend the night and wreak havoc all night long.  And she wouldn't even send us home on New Year's Day!  We could stay that night too! 
Granny would go to garage sales and give us each some money to buy things.  We used to love getting up early on Saturday mornings, sitting at the breakfast table and planning our route.  She would also buy incredible things for us.  Once she bought us a mannequin!  I mean, who does that?  We had every comic book known to mankind and costumes galore!  She would get us old Opryland costumes and we used them to put on plays all of the time.  She would sit through endless hours of our plays.  We would have at least ten thousand "Granny of the Year" plays and she never even acted annoyed when they would dissolve into absolute silliness and giggles. 
She instilled a strong sense of family in all of us.  We grew up with our cousins and we are all friends to this day.  She would take all six of us on fun trips like Chattanooga where we would stay on the train.  I remember the time she was going through "Fat Man's Squeeze" in Rock Island and she acted like she was stuck.  I loved it so much I did the same thing to my children when we went decades later. 
Once my grandfather was home from work because of the snow and he decided to rearrange my Granny's kitchen cabinets.   That is one of my favorite memories.  It was so funny to see her fuming and begging him to get out of her kitchen. 
When she moved onto the old Langford Estate in Langford Farms there were no other homes there and she would let us drive her car all around the Estate.  We were about fourteen at the time.  She probably figured out that might not be the wisest idea when she was planting in the garage and I drove her car through the garage door.  Hmmmm...that memory is still not funny!
Her house was always full of people.  We were in and out of there all of the time.  She would just sit in her chair and wait on us.  She knew sooner or later one of us (or all of us) would be dropping by to see her.
She always kept candy in her candy jars, there was always diet coke in her fridge.  These are little things but it was the little things that made my Granny so awesome.  She understood traditions and values.  She was one of the strongest women I have ever known.  I never saw her cry but I had often seen her laugh.  She was strong and proud and warm and I miss her so much sometimes I don't think I can bear it.   She always said she was so lucky that she was not one of those lonely old women whose family thought of them as a burden at best.  I say we were the lucky ones. 
She died exactly like she lived.  Surrounded by every single one of us.   I think she would have liked that. 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Daughter Turning 25....

               Photo above is by Allen Griggs.  Scrapbook Page by me
Today  my girl turns twenty-five.  Not of my body but first born in my heart, Chelsey is the only child I actually got to pick out!  I meet her twenty-one years ago at the daycare where I was working.  I taught the four year olds at the time and she moved into my class right before she turned four.  I fell in love with her right away.  And through her I met and fell in love with her Daddy.  I guess you could say that I owe my whole life to her.  I did not know at the time that she would come to be so intricately wound in my life but I think she did.   She would beg me every day to not leave work until her Daddy picked her up.  I could deny her nothing and thus quickly got to know the man she felt (and still feels) hung the moon just for her.  I remember him dropping her off in the mornings.  He would stand by the water fountain and fix her hair into a haphazard ponytail.  What woman's heart wouldn't melt over that?  When she came into class she would smell like his cologne and all of the teachers would want to hug on her because she smelled so good.  She talked about her father constantly.  I fell in love with her, then I fell in love with the beautiful relationship she had with her father and then I fell in love with her Daddy.  The first time he kissed me she spotted it, started giggling and with a look of bewilderment asked, "Daddy!!  Why are you kissing Miss Amy?".  LOL...She then proceeded to tell the entire daycare.  Needless to say, we were quite the talk!
The minute she met my mom and dad she called them "Grandmama" and "Grandpapa".  She totally melted my dad's heart, so much so that he scolded me not to "screw this one up".  HA!  I finally listened to him this time!
The first year with Chel consisted of "you know what", "Hey, Miss Amy, you know what?", "Guess what".  It went on for hours, days!  She had this adorable country twang and could turn the word "what" into two syllables.  She was not perfect (She and her friends Liza and Sarah loved to eat dirt) but she was pretty dang close.  She still is.  She is the daughter I always wanted and the girl God sent special to me.
Chelsey has grown from that tiny dancing ballerina to a teacher of dance.  She always impresses me with her dedication and love of the art form.  I enjoy her.  I love her.  She is my sweet baby girl and she is my good friend.  I owe the past twenty-one years of my life to her and I am so grateful and blessed. 
Now if she would just hurry up, find a man and give me some grandbabies!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Desperately Seeking My Babies!!

On the evening of my third son's fifteenth birthday I am sitting here confused, proud and sad. I am proud of the man my sweet, blond haired, blue eyed baby is becoming, confused by how fast it has all happened and saddened at the loss of yet another baby as he hurdles to adulthood. I am also saddened by how much I can't remember about the process. I look back through old photos and my heart skips a beat when I see certain things that are now lost forever...that look of amazement that would skitter across his face when he saw something new, those sweet blond curls now darkened and cut short. My Nicholas. Some things stand out in my mind. I remember the funny way he used to talk. Blake was the only one who could understand him and he would play interpreter for us. Nicholas would say, "boird" for "bird" and he would trill his lips when he said, "French Fries" in a way no one else in the family could quite imitate. He was always smart as a whip and we had him programming the VCR when he was three. To this day he is the go to guy for all technical questions. Nicholas has always had a calm way about him, so much so that he is often lost in the shuffle of this tumultuous household. He always just does what he is supposed to do, no arguments, no hassles.
He has always been amazingly close to his younger brother and is only now starting to pull away from Evan. And although I know this separation is normal and inevitable it pains me to see how much it is hurting Evan.
Nicholas was born six months before my father died. I found my father dead of a heart attack right before Mother's Day and I must admit it threw my life into a tailspin. I began having panic attacks and was thrown into such a deep depression that I just couldn't see my way out. Because of this I always felt like I missed out on the beginning of Nicholas' life, that I cheated him. So much of his first couple of years are lost in the darkness of those days. I spent so much time trying to forget the darkness that I let go of alot of the light as well. (Thank God for Prozac!)
I guess that is one of my true regrets. That I did not stop and savor those moments. That it seems like everything became a step toward another. Nothing was ever IN and OF itself. Hurry and get them dressed so we can eat breakfast. Hurry and eat breakfast so we can go to the store. Hurry and get through the store so we can fix lunch. Hurry, hurry, hurry! How many times have I told them to, "Hurry Up!"? Why was I always in such a hurry? Now I spend all of my time wishing I could slow it all back down.
My beautiful fair haired angel is now all grown up and ready to get his permit and seriously! I miss that baby! But you know what? Tonight I hung out with my boy. And I was in no hurry. We went and found him a new phone for his birthday and then went to dinner, just the two of us. And though he probably thought it was a normal, fairly boring evening, it was anything but to me. I was in no hurry. I sat with him and I watched him and I enjoyed him. Tonight was IN and OF itself and I was there in the moment, all of me. I love that kid. I love him inside and outside, backwards and forwards, upside down and all around. He has been a part of me for a mere fifteen years yet I love him timelessly, endlessly. I am looking forward to meeting the man he will become but I am in no hurry I think I will just try and enjoy every moment of this boy who is now fifteen.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

When a Photographer tries to Photograph their own...

"Okay, it is time and I can do this!" So I have been chanting to myself over and over the past few months leading up to the inevitable Family Christmas Card Session of Terror! This year is a special one because my oldest children no longer have braces and my youngest one gets them on the first of the year. Therefore this year I am going to do a large wall portrait. Piece of cake, right? I mean, after all this is what I do all day every day.
Flashback to the Rich Christmas Card Sessions of the Past....sort of like the ghosts of Christmas Past foretold Ebeneezer's future these past sessions should have given me a clue that my expectations were too high. After all we always have to alert the neighbors when we are going to do the session so they don't panic when they hear screams, yelling, tears and possibly see the SWAT team swarming the house. They can just shrug it off and say, "It's okay to stay outside, honey. That is just Ms. Rich attempting to photograph her children again".
But I was determined!! This was THE year!! I knew the look I wanted, Black on Black. I bought all of the boy's shirts a month ago, had them try them on and then hid them at the studio so I would not have any clothing woes. I told all of them over and over what time the photos were to be taken...noon on Sunday, noon on Sunday, noon on Sunday...they should have it hammered in by now. "Alex, don't forget the photos are noon tomorrow". "Alex, don't forget the photos are noon tomorrow". "Alex, don't forget the photos are noon tomorrow". "MOM!! I know!!! Stop that! You are driving me crazy! How could I possibly forget as you have said nothing else to me for weeks!" "That's fine Alex, I love you! Don't forget the photos are noon tomorrow".
I go to bed feeling pretty confident. After all everything is prepared and ready to go!
Wake up and it all goes downhill from there. I had some kind of allergic reaction to the garland's I was hanging and broke out in hives and scratched until I bled. And let me just say that I don't get pimples. I have never had pimples. Even as a teen I had a smooth complexion but I wake up with a pimple the size of Rhode Island on the side of my nose. "Don't sweat it" I tell myself. After all I have mad photoshop skills! So I am looking in the mirror to try put some cover up on the massive mountain on my face when I notice not only the mountain but all of the new craters. I look like the freaking lunar landscape! When in the world did I get so old?? Seriously!
No time for worries, just round up the kids. So off I go. My eldest son, Alex, is MIA. So I start calling everyone he has ever known looking for him. Of course it is before eleven so none of his friends are alive yet and I can't find him. I call my daughter and tell her to take her time getting here as I am searching for her brother. Finally I find him at 12:15 and tell him to hurry and get home. Should I tell him now that as far as I am concerned he needs to find another home? No, that must wait until after pictures. Yelling at number one son is not conducive to a pleasant photo shoot. So I bite my tongue, tell him to get in the shower and that I will meet them all at the studio.
Just a little bit longer and then all of this will be behind me! I can do it! I can do it!!
Kids come in and I glance up at Alex, determined not to yell when I notice the three day old stubble all over his beautiful face! He says, "I didn't think it looked that bad." Maybe to a homeless person! I sent the husband off for shaving cream and razor. Things are definitely not looking good.
I start wondering why I bother! Why do people do this? Why go through this just for a photo? UGH! I hate this, I hate photos, I hate my job, I am quitting!
Finally everyone is dressed and ready. I start arranging them. Chelsey is determined to get a good photo. Alex is rolling his eyes and fuming. Blake is looking at me with a look of total boredom. Evan is on a sugar high and Nicholas is just enjoying the show.
"Smile"! I get grimaces. "Come on guys! I just need one good photo." Fakest smiles I have ever seen. I get frustrated and I become the parent that I hate to have walk into my studio. I start yelling. Okay, I know this does not help. I KNOW THIS but I just can NOT seem to shut my mouth! Now I am mad at them and mad at myself. This is not going well. It never goes well. Why can't they just pretend that we are a happy and fully functioning family for five minutes??? WOULD IT BE SO HARD????? Jeez!
So now I start to cry. This makes everyone mad at Alex who they blame for the whole fiasco. They all start yelling at each other. Alex's sole defender, Blake, is screaming at everyone that they are being mean to Alex. I go in my office and cry. Alex comes in and says to come out and lets just finish. I yell, "Just forget it!" and he storms out of the studio, slamming the door which breaks the door lock. Now my husband has to go get tools and a new door handle and spends the next two hours working on this.
Sigh....seriously! This is why you should never photograph your own children. Especially my children. The signs were there all along. Allen Griggs still talks about the time Blake just threw a total melt down temper tantrum at his studio. I mean how many children has Allen photographed? Thousands? Yet MY child is the one who sticks out in his mind? When I took the kids to Annie's Photography for Easter Bunny photos she told me that one of them was threatening the Easter Bunny's life!! So why am I always surprised when these photo sessions always disolve into a nuclear melt down?
Anyway, here I am at the end of the day. I feel terrible about the whole day. I did everything wrong and now none of my kids are talking to each other and the air is heavy with regrets. Especially mine. I could have handled the session way better and gotten an entirely different result....maybe.
Sigh,,,,Yet another failed Christmas Session. Maybe the worst one in recent memory.
Do you think I should try again next weekend or just have myself committed?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I am no longer a photographer.....

I am no longer a photographer.

Nowadays everyone calls themselves a photographer. People no longer "take pictures". Instead everyone is a "photographer". As if my ability to add numbers (limited as it may be) qualifies me to label myself an accountant! People are getting new cameras, slapping up a website and announcing their new business to the world of Facebook. But isn't there more to it than that? Shouldn't there be? Is it all as simple as that? A camera, some business cards and a smugmug website?

I am seeing new photographers every day. And while some stand out as potentially talented and others stand out as appallingly bad, they all seem to share one thing in common....satisfaction with mediocrity. The market has become so glutted with average that the consumers can't seem to tell the difference anymore. The saddest thing is that these self proclaimed photographers know little about the art of photography and even less about the technical aspect. They think because they have a good camera they will take great photos. And they will....sometimes....Well, I can buy the most expensive top of the line scalpel but that doesn't mean I am automatically a great brain surgeon. Perhaps this seems like an extreme example but it still fits. Brain surgery takes education, practice, technical knowledge, a steady hand, dedication and years to master. Likewise, photography. We may not be saving your life but we are responsible for telling your story and that is a sacred task.

Don't misunderstand me! I do not consider myself a master photographer but you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be! And why? Because I have dedicated myself to the study of photography, both the technical and the art. Because I enter competitions all of the time in order to catch those elusive merits thereby improving my work with every competition.

Everyone starts somewhere. Everyone is at a different place on their path but it is these people who claim the name but not the work involved who are driving me to distraction and muddying the waters of the photography world.

Do you want to claim the name of "Photographer"? Then study it, learn it and live it. Earn the right. Learn white balance, posing, composition and the world of Photoshop. Learn to shoot a wedding without blowing out the dress or turning it blue. Learn lighting and how to shoot on manual 100% of the time. Get a business license, pay your taxes, join professional organizations, get your certification, take classes and go to seminars.

People are entrusting you with their memories, with their loved ones and with their legacy. At the end of their life this is what they will be leaving behind. These photos are their voices to future generations. Did you serve them well? There is NO room for mediocrity. I am tired of your brides coming to me in tears and asking if I can reshoot their bridal photos because you didn't bother learning your craft.

So, I am not longer a photographer. Apparently that word doesn't mean anything anymore. That label is no guarantee of professionalism or even of competence. I don't know what to call myself. Maybe I will buy a nice pair of scissors and call myself a clothing designer.......

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Free Halloween Photos on October 30th

Be sure and stop by the studio on October 30th between 10-6 to receive your FREE 4x6 Halloween Photo of your costumed cuties! Bring a donation of canned goods for the Wilson County Community Help Center and receive TWO free photos! And you know, you can't beat FREE!!
This photo is from Halloween, 2009. I have a new backdrop this year and I think they are going to be adorable so don't miss out!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Photographing Newborns

I love my job! I know you get sick of hearing that but I can't help it! What could be better than to spend your days photographing those sweet little newborns? There is just something so fascinating about them. I mean, let's face it, they do absolutely nothing but they command the attention of an entire room. We stare at them for hours. It is not like they are doing anything exciting to maintain that level of interest so what is it about them?

I think it is because they are so tiny and so new. They have just arrived and are so fresh off the Heaven boat that you can't help but wonder if they still remember anything about where they were before. Not only the past of the babies but the future is so incredible to think about. They lay there vulnerable and sleeping while we stare at them and imagine the possibilities. Is this a future president, CEO, nurse or fireman? Will they start a family? Will they be funny or serious? What will be their favorite color? Will they excel in school or struggle? Will they ever know how much we love them, fear for them, would die to protect them?

They represent our past and our future. They are wrapped up in our greatest and purest of loves and snuggled in blankets of hope. Pure innocence as of yet untouched by life's hard lessons. They are the best of mankind.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Repost of 9-11 2008

September 11th

I watched the coverage this morning and remembered seven years ago when the world changed. My friend woke me up and told me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center and we were on the phone watching that when the other plane hit. As the events unfolded throughout the day I remember how shocked and grief stricken I was. How could this be happening here? I remember how the skies were so silent because all of the planes were grounded. We live close to two airports so we see planes all of the time. You just kind of take them for granted but now there was nothing, no sounds and no jet trails. Occasionally you would see fighter jets fly by in formation and that would scare you even more and you would rush back into the house to see if something else had happened.

Two weeks after 9-11 we flew to New York. The airports had heavy security and we were apprehensive but determined not to let fear control our lives. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that we took that trip. I remember hearing the term, "hallowed ground" and knowing what it meant but not really thinking about it that much. I totally understood when we went down to the site. You could not get very close. There were fences blocking off the whole area. You could see the wreckage though and occasionally when the wind would blow your way you could smell the smell that I hope is unique only to this place for it was horrible. There were thousands of people standing there. Just looking. No one was talking. Most were crying. Thousands of people breathing in air filled with the dust of the buildings and the dead. Thousands of people and you could have heard a pin drop.

I did not take a single photo of the site. Somehow it just didn't seem right. It seemed invasive and intrusive. Instead I just stood there with my fellow Americans and grieved for our innocence, lost that day amongst so much rubble and so many dead.

We could see the huge trucks rumbling through the streets laden with their cargo of huge beams twisted beyond recognition. We stood and cheered when the firefighters or policemen would walk by. We looked at all of the memorials and read all of the flyers that were placed everywhere begging, hoping, desperate to find their loved ones.

It was the most moving experience of my life.

I am posting a photo of one of the flyers and another of a close up of a statue of a fireman. This statue was supposed to be going somewhere else but was sent to New York instead when they heard what had happened. It had become a makeshift memorial. Many put rosaries in the fireman's hand.

I just wanted to share with you my recollections of that horrible day. Never forget.



PS... The flyer reads:

"My name is Marc and my friend Joey worked on the 105th floor of No. 1 World Trade Center. After September 11, I put his "missing" flyer all over the streets of this changed city, choosing my spots as if I were painting graffiti, looking for the best light, the easiest places to see my friend's face.

At 26th Street and Lex, next to the Armory, strangers were nice to me, saying: "Hope you find your friend." I just thanked them and kept looking for more places where Joey's smile would catch people's eyes. It felt good to be doing something, not just sitting and mourning.

Joey and I met when we were five. His mother watched us every day after school before my parents came home from work. We went to school together for 11 years, and all those years I watched him. He was the coolest guy. I felt like the dorky kid he took under his wing. He showed me a lot of things, how to look cool, how to talk to girls. His father, a Vietnam vet and a retired FDNY fire fighter, helped me learn how to ride a bike. That was the first thing his dad asked me when we hugged each other, "Can you still ride a bike, Marc?"

Joey leaves behind his beloved family, girlfriend, and friends like me, lots of us. He will never know how many lives he touched. I have cried so much that I have become empty inside. My childhood hero has been stolen from me, and I will miss him forever."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I need you!!!

Hey all! I wanted to forward a letter I received from Cameron's mom. I think it best describes how much your help is needed in the continued fight against muscular dystrophy.
"Dear Wilson County Jailbird,
MDA needs you!
Wilson County needs you!!

We understand that it is easier to ask a man for his daughter's hand in marriage than it is to ask for donations. We also understand that the economy is rough and money is tight. However, the economy does not change the lives of all that are affected by MD: but YOU can!

MDA has changed my family's life. You see, my son Cameron, was diagnosed with Duchenne Musscular Dystrophy seven years ago and jailbirds like yourself and lock-ups like the one you are participating in help with his future.

You may ask yourself, "How can I make a difference?" $74 pays for one minute of research. Now a minute may not seem like a lot, until that miute that they find a cure for one of over forty different types of MD. On the same note, $30 pays for a flu shot. Something simple like the flu can be detrimental to a child with special needs. Every year, MDA hosts a camp for MD children with no costs to the parents. This is a time where my son and countless others, all with limitations, get to live life with no limits. Vanderbilt hosts the MD clinics for the Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky patients. These clinics are funded by donations from Middle TN. You see, all the money that is raised here...stays here. Let me tell you, that information allows me peace at night.

Now having said all this, I know you are ready to conquer this lock up and raise your bail; and for this I am grateful.

Cameron and I look forward to meeting you at the lock-up and we thank you in advance for your time and effoerts.

Kendra Hicks

P.S. Enclosed is a picture of Cameron who is a member of one of the NINETY FAMILIES the Muscular Dystrophy Assoc. serves in WILSON COUNTY."

Did you get the end?? NINETY FAMILIES in WILSON COUNTY.

Please help me raise money for Cameron, for this cause and for all those like him here in Wilson County. Let's rally together and try to extend the lives of these children!

Click to make a donation. Remember anyone who donates $150 will receive a FREE session at the studio!

I am including a photo of Cameron and his sister. Not only does this disease affect Cameron and his parents but it affects siblings as well.

Monday, August 23, 2010

He's Just a Regular Kid with a Cool Ride...

Meet Cameron, just a regular kid with a cool ride. Cameron was diagnosed with Duchenne's when he was around five. His grandmother had taken him for an eye exam and noticed that he was getting out of the chair in a strange way. Long story short, Cameron's family discovered that he had a form of muscular dystrophy called "Duchennes".

Duchennes is inherited and affects about two out of every ten thousand people. It is a progressive degeneration of the muscle functions. You are born with it but may not be diagnosed until early childhood. It usually starts affecting the pelvis and legs first, causing inabiltiy to walk and eventually spreads to the arms and other parts of the body. Many with Duchennes inevitably experience heart and lung complications and do not normally survive past the age of thirty. There is no known cure.

Cameron can tell you all about it but would much rather play on his X-box. He is like every other boy his age. He claims school is "all right" (Cameron attends Mt. Juliet Middle) and knows all about wrestling. He is just your typical kid with a terrible disease that will cut his life short if we don't find a cure.

Here is where you can help. Please go to and donate to help find a cure. I am a member of TEAM HOPE and am trying to help out Cameron and those like him. Please join me as we send kids to camp while we search for a cure!
Everyone who donates $150 will receive a FREE photography session at Amy Rich Photography Studio.
Thanks! I look forward to seeing the donations build!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Maternity Session with K and J

Did you have maternity photos taken? I know that I didn't, would not have even considered it at the time of the pregnancies, but now very much wish that I had done so. It is just such a incredible time in your life. That little baby is safe and protected and you are just so excited awaiting his/her arrival. Your body is changing in drastic ways and often you may not feel at your best but it is true that there is a glow about every woman expecting a baby.

I just had a session with K and J. They not only were adorable, I was touched by how much they obviously loved each other. Every girl wants a boy to look at her the way J gazed at K. I have included a couple of photos from their session on this blog.

So if you are thinking about having maternity photos taken, I say just do it!! You don't have to hang them on your wall. You don't ever even have to look at them. But you will have them if you want them. This is one of those times that you cannot recapture. You will only have that particular precious life inside of you this one time. I wish I had photos of being pregnant with each of my children. I want them to see me when I was anticipating them and loving them even before I had ever met them. I want them to see me glowing. I want them to see what they did to my body!! lol.... I want them to know, beyond any doubt, that I was happy.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

To Market, To Market

Hi Guys!

I just spent the last few days in Atlanta going to market! My mom and I had so much fun hanging out and searching for treasures. I was at a booth shopping when my husband called and asked what I was doing. I told him I was spending all of his money and he said, "Well, that shouldn't take you long." HA! He cracks me up!

I did find a few treasures here and there. I found a realistic stuffed lamb to use when shooting my upcoming nursery rhyme book. I will be needing some models for the book so if you are interested, give me a shout! I also ordered some hats, clothes and blankets for the studio. I got the hats so cheap! They were all in a big bin and I was having the hardest time deciding which to choose so when the vendor told me they were only $2 each I bought them all!

Don't get me wrong! I was a very good girl and only bought a few necessities. Okay, I am aware all of the hats were not a "need" but did I mention they were only $2???

Well, that is it for now! I will be blogging several times this week as I have a lot to! Keep checking back to find out some exciting things going on here at the studio.

In the meantime, check out this adorable photo of Mr. R. Whew, he was on the run the entire time we were doing his session! His mommy is going to LOVE the photos when she sees them tomorrow!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Father's Day is here so of course my thoughts turn to my Dad. I sure do miss that silly old man! Don't get me wrong, being his daughter was not easy. He could be tough with a capital T! But you know what, inevitably he was also right. I can still remember when my best friend and I decided to go over to the park at twilight and walk. He went nuts and started yelling about all of the men in the bushes waiting to grab us. I laughed about that for years. Until I had my own daughter. Funny how your perspective changes, huh?
I spent years avoiding his advice and I would give anything to hear it now. I used to cringe when he would sing to me, "Once in love with Amy, Always in Love with Amy" but I would trade everything I owned to hear him sing it again.
Dad died of a massive heart attack fourteen years ago. I am the one who found him and I guess it will haunt me forever. I still can't believe it has been fourteen years. Could it really be that long since I heard his voice? I miss him. I miss him alot.
On this Father's Day be sure and tell your Dad that you love him. I know he knows but I also know that he would like to hear it from you.
I am including one of my favorite shots of my son Evan with with his dad, Morris. amy

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Alex turned 19

Yesterday my oldest son turned nineteen and once again I am wondering where the time has gone. I look at my son and now instead of that sweet smooth skin I see that he needs to shave. I look at his hands and see not sweet dimples but the rough hands of a man complete with tatoos. I hear not the sweet piping voice calling for his "mommy" but the deep timbre of the word "mom". The days of sweet smelling baby powder are gone, replaced by the smell of cologne. I am crazy in love with this man - child but I do wish I could go back for one day and snuggle that sweet infant in my arms, hold those precious hands, watch those precarious first steps and look into those big brown eyes that loved me like no other.
He says turning nineteen was hard. He has no idea.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

It's the Little Things....

isn't it? It is the little things that can make or break our day? Think about it a second. Think about how those simple acts of kindness can change your whole day. When my second son was two, well, lets just say he was the poster child for a two year old. He would always seem to throw a fit at the worst times. One night we are out at a restaurant for dinner with the family and Blake decides to throw down. I took him to the bathroom and we were both in there crying when out of nowhere appears an angel. Now she looked like a middle age woman with a big purse but she was an angel and here is how I know...she started to talk to Blake (normally this would throw him through the stratosphere and he would have responded loudly with "No Talk!", "No Talk" but not this time. He calmed down immediately and smiled. Then the lady reached into her purse and pulled out a little trinket and gave it to him and told him he could keep it and voila! A totally changed child. We went back out and ate dinner and I never saw the angel again. At least in that form....
See, something so small yet I remember her fifteen years later with gratitude.

When I was sixteen I ran out of gas on the interstate (this was WAY before cell phones) and climbed over a fence into some man's yard. He found an old gas can with gas for his mower, put it in my car and gave me ten bucks to get more gas. To this day when I drive by his house, THIRTY years later, I send up a prayer for him.

How many times have you been down and just seeing a smile lifts you up. (Of course, to be perfectly honest here and I must because it is my blog and I don't want to lie on it, sometimes when I am down and someone smiles at me I want to rip their face off...not all the time, and of course I don't but sometimes I admit the desire is there....I'm just saying....) My point is that little things can go a long way to helping someone. Make that call to your friend that you have been putting off..they may just need to hear your voice. Help your neighbor with yard work. A great friendship may bloom. Talk to the person who keeps bugging you when you are trying to be left alone so you can glue the sequins on your daughter's dance costume. She may just end up being your best friend....yes, Janice I am talking about you....HA!

So quit reading this blog and go out and create some good karma for yourself!! Just don't smile at me....(just can smile at me anytime!)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Someone To Watch...

Recently I was doing a slideshow for the Hearthside Assisted Living Center in Lebanon, TN and I happened to meet a young man, Chase. He was there to play the piano for the residents. I must admit I was expecting to be less than impressed (picture long excruciating piano recitals) but I was blown away by this kid! Not only does he play several instruments, he composes his own music. He has been accepted to the Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts in Dallas, TX and will be moving there soon. He is just an incredible young man. I have a kid the same age (14) at home who's claim to fame is how long he can continually play a video game without breaking for food or water. lol!
I just wanted to share some photos I took of Chase and let you know what a great kid he is...See World, there is hope!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Time to Think About Senior Photos!

Hey everyone! As the end of the school year rapidly approaches (whew! Can you believe that?) it is time to think ahead to the next school year when you will be a senior. That is is time to book your senior photos! Most senior photos are done the summer before you start your senior year. Of course it doesn't have to be that way. I just took photos of a senior that is graduating in a month!
Interested in senior photos? Contact me for more information!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Time to Revamp your Professional Headshots!

Looking for a new headshot? Is yours hopelessly outdated or just not that good?
Come on over to the studio where I am running a $99 special on headshots! Let me help you put your best face forward!!


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lions and Bunnies and Lambs...OH MY!

Okay, so there is not really a lion but there will definitely be some bunnies and a lamb at the studio soon!
Hop on over to the studio on March 20th for the bunny shoot or on March 27th to have your child's portrait made with a lamb. It should be alot of fun!

Having said that, let me just say that I am a city girl. I do not know a thing about lambs! I just got it in my head that portraits with lambs would be just too precious to pass up. It could turn into an utter disaster! lol.... Don't worry! The photos will be precious but my studio may become a disaster zone! I am hoping that the weather is beautiful so that I can do the Lamb portraits outside. Keep your fingers crossed!!

Hope to see all of you at one or the other. Now quit reading this blog and go out and enjoy the sunshine!!


Monday, March 1, 2010

Marine Lance Cpl. Matthias N. Hanson

Book Reports!! Boy, do I remember them! Luckily I was a book lover so it was no problem for me to quickly devour the book and whip out a report. My ten year old also likes to read but he was assigned a biography of Abraham Lincoln. He whined the entire time he was reading it. It was "sooooo booorrrrinnnngggg". I decided to liven it up for him by taking he and his brother to the birth place of Abraham Lincoln in Kentucky.

On the way there we noticed row upon row of cars lining the road. We weren't sure what was going on until we heard on the radio that it was the funeral procession of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthias N. Hanson who had been killed in Afghanistan. We pulled our car over and talked about the fallen soldier while we waited for the funeral procession to come by. It was coming from Fort Knox and was going by Hanson's high school where he had graduated only two years before and then was preceding on to the funeral home. It was a bitterly cold February day and yet all of the roads were lined with people standing outside their cars, tears streaming down their faces while they waved flags, all to honor this poor boy who had given his life for us.
I couldn't quit thinking about him and his sacrifice. Not just his sacrifice but the huge sacrifice of his mother and father, friends and loved ones. He was just a boy and now he is gone.

I just wanted to take a moment and thank Marine Lance Cpl. Matthias N. Hanson and I hope as you are reading this you will take a moment to thank him too. Remember him and so many like him who were playing on the football field only two years ago and now have lost their lives on the battle field. Remember his mother who has lost that fair haired child who could always make her smile, the boy she tucked into bed everynight and for whom she would have given her life to protect. Just as he has now given his life to protect hers and ours.

Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home may or may not have made the biography come to life for my ten year old. But I hope neither of my children will ever forget watching that silent procession of police vehicles, fire engines, flag draped cars and the hearse bearing that soldier's body. I hope they will remember it with pride, gratefullness and thankfullness. God bless you Matthias and may you rest in peace.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Why you should....

Hey Everyone!
I received a text from a friend of mine the other day and it really made me stop and think. It said as follows:

Four Things You Can't Recover
1) The stone after the throw
2) The word after it is said
3) The occasion after it is missed
4) The time after it is gone.

Wow! This is just so true and part of the reason that I love photography. While it does not bring the time back, it can freeze it so that you can revisit it from time to time.
I have a customer who always said how she wanted to bring her mother and have photos done of the family. I ran into her over Christmas and she started crying the minute I saw her and told me that her mother had passed away the previous week and how much she regretted the fact that she never could seem to find the time to come in for the photos.

When my first son was a newborn, he had hair that was just like my fathers. He had monk know the kind that is all around the sides but lacking on the top. I always wanted a photo made of the backs of their heads together. I never did and eighteen years later I still regret it!

Don't let this happen to you! If you have been wanting a particular photo, please, PLEASE stop what you are doing and take it now. Even if you don't come to me, just take it yourself. BUT take it!!
Of course if you want to come to me (and I highly recommend, mention this blog and receive $25 off of your print order! Now you have NO excuse at all! I will see you all soon!

In the meantime, I am including a couple of recent favorite photos.

By the way, Monday night is Southern Stars night at Chili's. Please join me at the Chili's on South Hartman Drive from 4-9. Southern S*T*A*R*S provide therapeutic and recreational horseback riding programs for individuals with special needs. If you come and see me I will give you a $25 print credit toward any future session in the next three months!! Yippee!!

See you soon!


Friday, January 22, 2010

Hello Again!!

I know! I know! I have not been on here in forever and I have not lived up to that part of my 2009 New Year's Resolution! I am terribly sorry!! I am a bad girl!
I did however complete another part of my 2009 Resolutions! I am proud to say that I did completely double my business from 2008!! Whoo Hoo! My sincere thanks to all of you that helped me reach my goals!
This past year has been a good one for me! I opened the retail studio in August. I love, love, LOVE my studio! August was also when I won the Fist Place Bridal Portrait at the Tennessee Professional Photographer's Association! I also won a $500 scholarship at the same conference! You can bet I was one happy girl!
This past year my personal life was also better. My son's are finally finding the right path and for this I am more thankful than anything else.
So, you may be wondering....what in the world is Amy's 2010 New Year Resolution? Well, I will be happy to inform you! I actually have several...
1) Do more charity work with my business
2) Increase my sessions by 25%
3) Restructure my pricing
4) Finally learn how to use the pesky software, Pro Select
5) Search out some new products I think you will all love
6) Take the Test for my CPP in April
7) Continue learning to improve my art
8) Open and promote my High School Senior Division
Whew! That should keep me busy! LOL...
Well, I am taking the kidlets to the movie so I had better sign off now! I am going to include a senior photo and one of my new babies in my Panel Program.
Drop in and see me!