Have you ever been a blog stalker? You know, it’s late at night, the kids are in bed, you’re sitting beside your husband on the couch…laptop in your lap… while he watches something on tv like “Dirty Jobs”, “Survivor Man” or something equally disgusting. Sure there are several piles of laundry you could be doing. Or maybe the kitchen counters still need to be wiped down from supper. But really, all you want to do is lazily sit by the one you love on the couch (even if the man he’s watching on tv did just eat an 8 pound spider…EWW!) and read about other peoples’ lives. Sound familiar? If you’re the guy on the couch, probably not. If you’re the mom avoiding laundry, my guess is you may have been there before. But the trouble is, all of your “normal” blogs are pretty boring on this evening. So you start linking to the blogs of your friend’s friends. And then their friends, and their friends and so on until you really don’t even remember which blog it is that you started on. Well, my friends, that’s how I “met” Jessica. I randomly clicked on her blog link and began reading about her fairly normal life in Texas with her husband Will and their two beautiful kids, Carlee Scott and Owen. I would periodically check in on them through her blog, however I never left a comment so she never knew I was looking, thus making me a creepy “blog stalker”!
Fast forward a few months. I was reading her blog one day and saw that she had decided to go private with it. I knew it was time to come out of “lurkdom” if I wanted to continue to follow this blog. So, I did, and we’ve been blog and facebook friends ever since!
Jessica’s husband, Will, is a chaplain in the army and was deployed to Iraq just before Christmas last year. I was filled with overwhelming gratitude toward their family that they would endure a separation such as this to protect the freedom of MY family. The kids don’t see their Daddy and are really too young to even understand what’s going on. Jessica has become a single parent (which she is handling Beautifully!), dealing with the everyday “stuff” of family life all on her own and missing her beloved terribly, and Will is ministering to, counseling and sharing Jesus with soldiers in the middle of war, loving what he’s doing but missing three very important people like crazy! They are both so at peace with where they are in life right now. Fully confident that this is God’s will and that they will be reunited soon. I have never heard either of them complain, and I’m just blown away by their Awesome attitudes! It is very clear that they both love their country and love their God and KNOW without a shadow of doubt that these things are worth fighting for and protecting. And to say that I’m grateful for that is a huge understatement.
Just before Will was deployed I wanted to do a family portrait session for them. The problem? They are in Texas. We are in SC. I would have loved it, but it just wasn’t feasible. Well, the family vacations at Kiawah Island in SC every year. And Jessica and the kids arrived there on Saturday, July 4th. My parents were spending the weekend at my aunt and uncle’s house at Kiawah that very weekend…Hmmm…No, we can’t do that family portrait seeing that one major part of the family is half a world away, but we COULD photograph those three people that he loves so much and send him updated portraits to have until he comes home in December. I pitched the idea to Collin, who was all for it, worked things out with Jessica over facebook, and we drove down to Kiawah yesterday to officially meet and photograph this “blog friend” of mine. It wasn’t until I was sitting in my aunt and uncle’s beach house explaining what we were doing that I realized the whole situation was just a bit weird! After all, I’ve never met this girl, never even talked to her on the phone! She was an “internet friend”! And my Momma warned me about those kinds of people!!! 😉
We met up last night, and I’m very happy to say that Jessica is a very normal, Gorgeous Mommy to two precious little ones (Whew!;) ) We hugged like we’ve known each other for years and the kids played together on the beach like they were best buds. In fact, Makgill, Clara Beth, and Carlee Scott buried themselves side-by-side in the sand, and a group of women walking on the beach thought they were triplets! They did look alike with all of those blond curls!
Will…Collin and I are beyond grateful to you and so many others who are protecting the freedom of this country that we love! We hope you enjoy these images of your beautiful family! We so enjoyed meeting them and hope the portraits will make your time apart a little easier. And more than anything, we look forward to next year’s Kiawah trip when we will be able to do a complete family portrait!
Oh, and you want to hear something funny? Jessica told me last night that when I emailed her to confess my lurking on her blog, she had already been to our blog in a similar “blog stalking” situation! 🙂
Here’s a slideshow of the entire session…
Collin was also able to photograph Will’s sister’s family. It was so great getting to know all of them! Another beautiful family!