Of place and people

I do not know if a place makes the people, or if people make the place, but I suspect the later.


Last post I celebrated the instants we spent in a rapturous place last week. Today I will not break out into any more soliloquies on life or land, but, dude, this place is so real, and I love it for that. It shows its flawed beauty unabashed. I love how humans have added to it in a way that makes sense. (Barns are one of my secret obsessions. And treehouses, but I have no pictures of those).

Walker dreams of a building a mountain cabin from restored barn wood, and I dream of filling it with leather and plaid and twigs and firewood.


The fog, the falling, the simplicity; somehow my favorite photo was taken out the window of the car. Who lived here?


I do know the people who live here, and they are cool, yo. And we had a week of pure fun together. That's where I've been trying to get. The people.


The people there do me good; they give love, they listen, they make me cry with laughter. While there, I sat out on chilly rocking chairs on the porch of my old home, and shared old and new thoughts with a friend from high school. I stayed up until almost 2 with Walk and my roomie from last year laughing and begging for reprise. We said remember that time a lot. I said you're getting so tall like a grandma about 23 times. The girls were grown-up and mature. But I slink into nostalgia.


Dude, we celebrated. We celebrated being together big. Our house's Talent Show tradition ballooned to tiny girls stomping their feet, Walker beat-boxing (he's amazing!), vocabulary raps, and a Rootin' Tootin' Roy skit. It was full of those perfect instants of life. Twirly tulle dresses flapping. Massive glasses for a quick makeover. A diva of a six-year old who yelled the acts out in true drama-queen form.


Stuffed between girls on the couch, I couldn't stop laughing, and stopping between the laughter to smile at the joy on the faces of my friends.


I will never understand being a mom until I'm there, but the part of me that helped raised some girls for a year is starting to understand the joy of growth and the ache of separation. I'm starting to learn that all kids are given, and none are, or will ever be, mine.


An awesome mission of the Ranch is to model loving homes for kids who don't have that, so they can go on to say this. So, all of the little kids in these photos are from families who live at the Ranch to help change lives and model family life; I worked with the older ones. They're all seriously amazing.

Amy and Sarah, your kids have serious spunk.


What I love about portraiture is that each photo has a story. See the beautiful girl (from my house!) in the bottom left-hand photo? Check out her story here.

These kids spend a lot of my time drying dishes and folding laundry and shoveling manure. But they know how to rejoice, too. This makes me happy.


And so does this.


And so does the thought of my wonderful husband taking 6 other girls and I out to dinner at a Forrest Gump themed restaurant for shrimp and silliness. He says he can't wait to be a grandpa; I say he's the bomb.

I love them so much I might start floating away on it like a happy hot air balloon.


They taught me about contentment. They taught me not to complain. They taught me about unconditional love. Seeing them was such a gift.