Archive for June, 2013

June 23, 2013
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When a couple welcomes God to take control of their lives, the outcome can be truly amazing.

While talking with Katie and Jeremy during their Engagement Session, I learned they both were devout believers, and each had prayed for a spouse of God’s choosing. It was no small wonder that He placed them together.

For those who know little about the Christian walk, they might assume that no obstacles will occur, and everything will be smooth sailing. But as the scriptures tell us, it rains on both the just and the unjust.

Prior to Katie’s wedding, her family encountered a tragic turn of events, as her mother suffered a stroke and was hospitalized.  While the road to recovery is never certain, one thing remained sure — the power of prayer was at work.  Despite all the obstacles, and the inability to stand for any length of time, Katie’s mother made her way down the aisle at Grace Covenant Church in Charlotte, to see her daughter united in marriage.  Honestly, I don’t know who was smiling more as she slowly walked down the aisle — Katie, her mother, or the many family members gathered for this momentous event.  It was truly a miracle.

Lest everyone think the rest of wedding went off without a hitch — let me lay those thoughts aside. I hope this doesn’t embarrass the bride too much, but I witnessed something at this wedding I’ve never seen before.  The minister, Andrew Smith of The Gathering Church, was solemnly leading the ceremony when all of a sudden, Katie starts smiling at Jeremy, leaned past the minister and gave her groom a big kiss.  Never missing a beat, Pastor Smith looks at the wedding guests, smiles, throws his hands up and acts as though the couple just completed the ceremony without him. It was great. There wasn’t a single person in the church who wasn’t grinning from ear to ear, as Katie realized what she had done.

Following the rest of the wedding – which did go off without a hitch – the reception was another unique adventure as we all traveled to the Atherton Mill Farmer’s Market.  The whole day was so amazing, and you could literally feel this couple’s love for each other, for their families, and for God.

“Love is a partnership of two unique people who bring out the very best in each other, and who know that even though they are wonderful as individuals, they are even better together.” Barbara Cage

A very special thank you to my wonderful second shooter, Jessica Horton from JJ Horton Photography!

Ceremony: Grace Covenant Church Charlotte, NC
Reception: Atherton Mill Farmers Market
First Look: Latta Park
Videographer: Kevin Romeo with Rhino Media Productions
Entertainment: DJ Joe
Dress: South’s Specialty Clothiers  – Paloma Blanca Gown
Bridesmaids Dresses: Page 6 and Francescas
Tux: Brooks Brothers
Caterer – The Tin Kitchen
Musicians – Henry Golatt and Aaron Bucy

 

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June 05, 2013
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Like many Americans, I become emotional when I think about our military. Flags blowing in the wind, soldiers standing at attention, elderly veterans saluting, and children’s eyes filled with tears upon seeing their parent after a long deployment, are guaranteed to bring a lump to my throat.
Many of the younger children of servicemen will never remember the big homecoming when Daddy returned from overseas, but regardless, that event will be told and retold throughout the years until it becomes almost a subconscious memory they will carry with them through adulthood.
I know.
I grew up as an Army brat at Fort Benning and Bragg. It never occurred to me that most Dads were home for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Although there for my birth at Fort Bragg, my Dad celebrated my first birthday on an air assault in Grenada. Later years saw him miss birthdays, graduations and more holidays as he was deployed to Afghanistan, Central American, or Southeast Asia.
No small wonder these soldiers hold a soft part of my heart, for as I see each one, I’m also seeing my own Dad returning home once again.

As I traveled through Gaffney, SC, on the morning of June 4th, prior to the return of the South Carolina National Guard who had spent the last nine months on a deployment to Kosovo, the scenes about town immediately started my emotions flowing. The local fire department extending the ladder truck with the stars and stripes catching the breeze, the countless residents lining the street with their lawn chairs, the flags, the excitement — even the sign at the local McDonalds that simply read ‘God Bless America.’ An entire town waiting for the moment to welcome home their troops.

Driving to the armory, where the soldiers would greet their families, I was amazed at the crowd. Hundreds of flags, ‘Welcome Home’ signs of all descriptions, and anxious faces that told the story of families about to be reunited. One little girl in particular, was about to meet her Daddy for the very first time.

Six-month-old Avery Elizabeth Locklear was born just four months into her father’s deployment. While SFC Bo Locklear of Rock Hill, SC, had seen pictures and videos via the Internet, but had yet hold his daughter. Along with her mother, Claudia, and older sister Maddy Kate, little Avery was adorned in a onesie that said, “I’ve waited my whole life to meet my Daddy,” and she was grinning from ear to ear.

As the parade formation neared the armory, I’m certain I’m not the only one who felt my eyes pool with tears. A long line of vehicles from the Gaffney Police Department lead the way with flashing lights, followed by three buses of soldiers, accompanied by an escort of veterans on motorcycles. The excitement was tremendous. As the troops disembarked, I saw Claudia’s eyes searching the formation for her husband, I saw Maddy Kate holding tightly to her sign standing on tiptoes trying to catch her first glimpse of ‘Daddy Bo,’ I heard a little girl atop the shoulders of her grandfather screaming, “Daddy! Daddy!”

As soon as the soldiers were dismissed, it was a rush of happiness as loved ones reunited throughout the armory. Where a few short moments ago, the soldier’s protocol was standing stiffly at attention, eyes to the front, it was quickly exchanged for hugs, kisses and tears.

It was almost like a slow-motion movie when Claudia and Bo spotted each other from across the room. He ran toward her enveloping both her, Avery and Maddy Kate in a loving embrace. And then, it was like time stood still — his eyes met with the daughter he had never held, and she gave him a big toothless grin. As he lifted her in the air, Claudia said, “It was like Avery had known him all her life!”

Everywhere around me, were the sounds of happiness, joy and gratitude. Old veterans mingled with the young, husbands and wives reunited, children jumping with excitement — it was the stuff that truly makes your heart happy and gives you renewed love for America.

After the joyous homecoming, I returned to my car, and watched as the soldiers loaded their belongings into the family car and prepared for the trip home. I saw so many infants and toddlers clinging to their ‘Soldier Daddy’ and it brought a rush of a long ago childhood for myself. I looked toward the flag and uttered the words that I was too young to say for myself all those years ago, “Welcome Home, Dad.”

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Above Parade Image Courtesy of Tim from the Gaffney Ledger

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June 03, 2013
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I must admit that I am one of those ‘fitness challenged’ individuals. Although I try to eat healthy foods, stay active, and do a good bit of walking, I lack the time, structure and determination to participate in fitness events. My adulthood is far cry from my youth — the days when softball practice and games literally consumed my life.

While I admire those who regularly attend the gym, are active in Zumba classes, or train year ’round for marathons, I’m more inclined to stick with the ‘admiring’ instead of the ‘doing.’

When I met Adrienne and Jason, I became acquainted with my first real glimpse into the world of dedicated athletes. Both entrepreneurs, this couple is more inclined to be seen doing the unusual rather than the status quo.

Since they both enjoy marathons, hiking and running, it was only natural they should meet through friends on the running circuit. During their first date, it was apparent they had much more in common than their love of the outdoors. While many couples have their second date at a romantic, dimly lit restaurant, Adrienne and Jason spent theirs with him pacing her on a 5K race. I think most of us would have never made it though the second date, let alone subsequent ones!

Even Jason’s proposal was unique. The couple stopped along the way to a formal dinner for a ‘little walk’ at Freedom Park in Charlotte, where they stopped at a quaint park bench, and Jason dropped to one knee and proposed. Before you get the mental picture of a flowering walkway, blue skies and a gentle breeze, I should tell you it was 30 degrees that day!

The beauty of nature is something they both enjoy viewing, albeit not like the folks who stop at the scenic overlooks along the highway. One example was a short ride they took through the Blue Ridge Parkway — they spotted the sign for a trail head and decided to stop along the way for a quick 3 mile hike.

Always ready for an adventure, Adrienne and Jason are planning their honeymoon in Costa Rica. Among their plans are swimming, zip lining, and, of course, lots of hiking through the jungles.

I will run to your heart
Nothing can keep us apart
Nothing can stop me now

Running for Love

Julia Laible Photography

Julia Laible Photography

Julia Laible Photography

Julia Laible Photography

Julia Laible Photography

Julia Laible Photography

Julia Laible Photography

Julia Laible Photography

Julia Laible Photography

Julia Laible Photography

Julia Laible Photography

Julia Laible Photography

Julia Laible Photography

Julia Laible Photography

Julia Laible Photography

Julia Laible Photography

Julia Laible Photography

Julia Laible Photography

June 03, 2013
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On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
Psalm 145:5

Rock Hill Newborn Photographer Julia Laible