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Today is the first day of my 44th year and right now, in this moment, I am happy.  Dean and I are sitting on the front porch of a cabin in the woods and I am counting my blessings.  It takes a while and fills my heart to the brim, as I take a deep breath and really soak it all in.  I am truly grateful for this life and all the blessings in it.

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Inspired by the beauty and serenity at the Lodge at Whitehawk Ranch, I’m writing and Dean is taking photos, so that we can preserve this moment for us, as well as share it with all of you…

Summer grass, aspens, and pine trees dancing in the wind create a symphony reminiscent of the sea–rising and falling in nature’s rhythmic crescendos.  Light and shadow take their turn in unison with the clouds and sun.  Birds chirp high above, ducks race across the pond, butterflies float on the breeze and the mountain air is fresh and crisp.

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Yesterday was my birthday and I got to share it with ‘Grandpa Bill’ as he celebrated his 90th (and a half) birthday.  Officially, we were there to photograph his family, and then as day turned to night, Dean and I were included in the celebration by Grandpa Bill’s twenty-three family members, as they spent the evening visiting, laughing, and raising a glass to toast the patriarch and each other, revealing in their reunion.  And then (led by Claudia) they surprised me by singing ‘Happy Birthday’…to me.  I was humbled and honored and so touched that it brought tears to my eyes.

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We have the best job…EVER, and that’s one of the things I’m most thankful for.

When you get to spend time with a group of people who love each other, and whose laughter and humor are as infectious as the Millers’, it’s easy to get caught up in the celebration.  But to meet a family who includes you in such a way that you are buoyed along by their generosity of spirit and their open hearts is a true gift.  The Miller family gave us that gift, and we are grateful. It reminds me why we choose to chase this dream, as visual storytellers, so we can return the favor and give them the gift of the images we create that document them in a way that will keep this weekend’s memories alive for generations to come.

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Cheers to the Miller family (all four generations), and especially Grandpa Bill…THANK YOU for inviting us to document your family’s story, and for a birthday dinner I will never forget!  oxo

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