Simple Grace Photography: Blog en-us (C) Simple Grace Photography [email protected] (Simple Grace Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:56:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:56:00 GMT Simple Grace Photography: Blog 120 83 Table 11
                                                                                                                Table 11

Saturday April 16th was the last Fabby Abbey Ball at Spindletop Hall. We planned that special night way in advance, and anticipated all the fun it was going to be.

When we got there, they asked for our names to check off the list and find seating. We had ordered the tickets the moment it was advertised to be sure and reserve a seat, but as the lady at the front desk glided her hand down the list, we were not there. I had that awkward what do we do feeling for a moment, standing there dressed like two kids ready for the prom. Then my husband found his recipe and she apologized and looked around the room and said, “hum..table 11 is fine." So we went to table 11 and I was aware in that moment, I was just placed at a random table without thought to the arrangement of people considered. I wondered who would show up as we watched lovely couples dressed in beautiful beaded gowns and regal suits. It did feel like being in a movie, the room was swarming with laugher, while classical music played and strangers became friends.  Fresh flowers adorned the tables and plush green vintage furniture gave an historic feel to the Spindletop Hall. 
As we settled down we began getting to know our company to the left of us, a wonderful married couple with great stories about Aviation and life. Coming a little later to our table was a tall man and with him an elegant date, dressed in the most lovely roaring 20’s-styled dress. They greeted each person at the table, and settled down right next to us. I noticed he could have moved his chair a little further away, but instead sat down shoulder to shoulder with me and began to talk. And we all had the chance to chat most of the night about the great food and favorite characters on the show, and I asked him what he did for a living. He casually said, "I am a Cardiologist," and asked me what I did. I told him about being a mom, photography and some time spent in the military. He immediately sat up and said, “Oh me too! I was a Captain in the Medical Corps," and went on to explain he still had his uniforms. He was saving them in case his children were ever interested in them. I told him it was a great idea and I still had mine, because I think most kids will think that is cool one day. He grinned a warm and soft grin and shook his head. It was the easy flow of getting to know a person you had never met before, filled with praise for their children and appreciation for so many things. 
I had really wanted a group photo most of the night, but by the time we got around to it, he had taken his lovely date to dance to the band. We went down stairs and looked for all our companions. Moments later they came by and I watched his date’s purse as they moved to the dance floor. But being the lover of photography and people, I stood there watching everyone, peeking into their relationships and stories. It was evident though, that no one else existed on that dance floor except the good doctor and his date. He held her close and she took his face in her hands with affection. How does the lyrics of that song go, I was thinking to myself:
"The lady in red is dancing with me, cheek to cheek
There's nobody here, it's just you and me
It's where I want to be
But I hardly know this beauty by my side
I'll never forget the way you look tonight
I didn’t really want to interrupt them as they were so engulfed in a kind special moment together. So I placed her small red purse in a better place, and quietly waved bye. 
I have now gone over that night in my head many times, as I came to find out my doctor had passed the following day in a bike accident. A kind of gasping for air came over me, when I realized what had happened. It is a feeling of loosing a friend you just made, and all the potential that goes with that. I thought about his hand shake, and wondered how many times in the course of his life he had literally and figuratively reached down into somebody's heart and saved their lives. That a person who dedicates their life to healing others, has to be giving so much of themselves every single day. I thought about the instant connection that serving in the military gives you with someone you just met, you have a kinship that is really hard to describe. And I thought about how humble, yet elegant he seemed that night. I felt I had been given the privilege to spend one of his last beautiful days here, and how I will never forget him but rather tuck his smile directly into my own heart. I am thinking about his lady in red, and how symbolic everything feels. I hope she knows, we were touched by how much joy and fun they had in each other’s arms that night. That I sat with a person and really engaged him in a way I haven’t had the opportunity to do in a long time without distractions. 
And I am thinking how sometimes I really can’t grasp when things happen that feel immensely hard and intertwined with sorrow. I know this though, that I feel there was a strong purpose for me to be able to sit right next to him that night, and that it was a blessing that God put me at table 11. I know that he had a wonderful night and his life was filled with so much that he valued, that many people struggle to ever experience those things he genuinely had. Our time here is finite, and I am sure that more than most he was aware of this. Our time is also the most meaningful by the depth at which it is lived, and I am positive he lived every moment of it with a sense of depth. I am reminded of a quote I heard a long time ago. When actor Heath Ledger passed his then girlfriend said in an interview something to the effect, that she had always thought it was most important in life to be very serious about thing in life, but after his passing she realized it was more important to work for happiness or joy. 
Dr. Cassidy, thank you for a brilliant night and for the gift of your presence and sharing the joy of your life.
[email protected] (Simple Grace Photography) Fri, 22 Apr 2016 14:00:02 GMT
Love from the Little House.   Love from the Little House.

Every Autumn I turn my thoughts back to being a small girl around ten, and the adventures of exploring the woods with friends as the leaves blanket the ground in yellow, red, and orange. There is something magic about childhood and fall mixed up together as though they both seem to say, "this time or season in life is fleeting, soak it in." I look at my children now and see the same kind of excitement when we go to a pumpkin patch, rake up leaves, or enjoy an autumn bonfire.

My daughter has recently spent time reading the books, and watching the TV show about Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House on the Prairie." There is a wealth of good old-fashioned lessons in each of these that certainly apply to life today. Michael Landon did an amazing job of showing us who Laura and her family were. He portrays himself as her Pa, and comes across as a voice of reason and integrity. I know when she watches one of these shows, that there will be something to learn, and she absolutely loves them. We recently did a little photo shoot for fun, with a sweet friend who is also a "Little House on The Prairie" fan. The girls looked the part, one Laura, one Nelly, and we even managed to get an Albert in there for some pictures. Things we can gather from the books and the TV show are timeless truths today:

Be resilient: Despite anything that life handed him, Pa fought back with a deep sense of resiliency. That doesn't mean you don't get knocked down, but rather find a way to keep going. It takes fortitude to look a bleak situation in the eye, and find strength to make the best of it.

Community: Resiliency and community go hand in hand, because sometimes you have to reach out for help. When things on the Little House became challenging, often the community of Walnut Grove held a meeting to talk about the issues that they faced and to come up with a solution that worked in most part for everyone. Community fosters a sense of belonging, pride, and the stronger your contributions to your community, the more it will also serve you.

Your word is your word:  Your word is your word, in short, it is your integrity. The fastest way to prove or disapprove who you are is to not follow through with something you have said. It is the non-verbal equivalent of a good old hand shake. Mr. Ingalls was a person of his word, and would remind his girls that you keep your promises and if you had a job to do, stick with it until it's done and then no one can say you don't work hard.

Plan for the future:  Pioneer days held much more unpredictable times, considering most folks had to farm to live. The unpredictable elements of weather and crops, made planning for the future the most important thing to do. It is possible that you may plan for things, and be successful at your endeavors. Paw taught his family though, that you have to plan for unexpected things in life, and when you do so, it will lighten the load.

Friendship: If there is one thing that is important in life, it is to have a good set of friends. The rivalry of Laura and Nelly was a central theme on Little House. We all know people who are disagreeable, as was Nelly and often her mother. You have to appreciate these kinds of folks too, because they teach you about how you don't want to act, and what to look for in a good friend. Friendship can help you grow into a better person. Even Laura and Nelly grew to be friends in later years.

Slow down: Slow down, enough said right. We can hardly take the time anymore to slow down. With so many activities, it is easy to miss the moment in the rush of things. Set aside time to just do things at a slower and calmer pace, which will give you a better sense of feeling grounded.

Love out values things: "Little House on The Prairie" was about love of family, above all else. We work and live to provide and make a life for our family. There are no material things on this Earth that can take the place of people. Family can be made up of friends and whoever you decide to love. The resounding theme of Michael Landon's work for me is this simple truth, that love out values things.

So, enjoy our little throw back to Laura Ingalls Wilder, and if you enjoy our work then we so love new fans on our Facebook page here:

And for any of you interested in ordering the Little House on The Prairie series, you can do that thru the wonderful Dean Butler, who played Almanzo Wilder on the Television series. You can order here:

All work is copyright protected, and under the ownership of Danielle Pousette.

[email protected] (Simple Grace Photography) Landon Little Michael Prairie house on photography the Sun, 01 Nov 2015 23:28:49 GMT
Bette Midler I could not resist going this year as Bette Midler's awesome witch, Winifred Sanderson! Crazy fun we have had :0) 

[email protected] (Simple Grace Photography) Fri, 31 Oct 2014 23:53:30 GMT
Wedding Details! During Wedding Season, I often get asked, "Who would you suggest for such and such service?" and this is a tricky question to answer. I base my recommendations on things like: reliability; personality; technique; skill; and proper equipment. I will only recommend a person that runs a legitimate business. I am really excited to share this particular wedding, because she made so many amazing choices and I think it might help another bride who is starting the journey.

When planning something as important as your Wedding Day, make sure the professionals you hire reflect back to you all the qualities you find most important. Keep in mind that the people you hire are giving time, and often more than you could really imagine, to make your day the best they can. They want you to have all the details exactly the way you would like to see them. That takes really talking to the various individuals that you are looking to hire and communicating every detail in your head clearly. It is true that often these vendors will have tons of experience and can quickly point out if something will be too complicated, or may even have a better idea to offer you. Be open to suggestions and try to see it as a partnership, because that is really what it is. These folks that spend weekends after weekends arranging flowers, cakes, and playing first dance songs will be part of your happily ever after. Love the people you hire on you wedding day and set them up for success because, believe me, nobody wants you to love that day more than they do, their jobs depend on it.  

And with all that said, I am going to say with DEEP appreciation, that it was a privilege to be with Andy and Sandi on the day of their Wedding. We had real moments of tears, laughter,  and all sprinkled with a year's worth of communication. I adored every second of being with them, and it did not feel like work. I felt extremely appreciated. Let me say that again, I felt extremely appreciated by both of them. I even got a little choked up when her new "husband" came over to tell me that he was thankful for everything I did.  That is the best feeling in the world to any photographer or other professional who spends that special day with you. 

Here is a nice little run down of details:

Makeup was done by:  Trish Allen of Image Insight. She was amazing and I loved watching her transform an already beautiful girl, to just elegant and radiant on her big day. Trish is a very warm-hearted person, and does beautiful work, a pleasure to be around for sure. She has a great web site and you can check it out here: or call her at 352-215-2539.


Hair: There were several ladies' hair to be done, and Mallory Macy form 855 Salon and Spa, worked each Bridesmaids hair into perfection. Even by the end of the night, everyone's hair was still looking great.

Then we have one of the BEST DJs I have ever heard. Beth Mitchell, is one of the few female DJs that you will come across. She came with some of the most modern and portable equipment, and setting up in two locations. She was excellent at keeping the flow going at the wedding and announcing when events would take place. I know there was an extensive list of songs, and she made the party happen for sure. Contact is on facebook under Beth Mitchell DJ Service: 

For the cake she used Confused Confections in Lexington.

And incorporated each of their love of Georgia and Kentucky. 

The horse shoes came from her uncles Thourgbred farm; the Bradleys' Indian Ridge farm is home to some of Kentucky's finest horses and trained by Fred and William "Buff" Bradley. The famous Groupie Doll who won the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint in 2012 and 2013 and resides in retirement on this farm. Can you imagine, what an awesome thank you gift, and it doesn't get more Kentucky than that, does it! They also incorporated some of the wood from the barns to make signs.

[email protected] (Simple Grace Photography) Mon, 13 Oct 2014 02:29:22 GMT
Photographing Joan Walsh Anglund and Mary Engelbreit Photographing Joan Walsh Anglund and Mary Engelbreit

This past weekend a group of amazing folks came together under the direction of Mary Diane Hanna to meet and celebrate children's illustrator and author Joan Walsh Anglund. If you have not yet heard of her, please do your heart a favor and google her wonderful body of work that spans decades. She is so amazing that the ever-talented illustrator Mary Engelbreit decided to come and participate in all the events. Those two in a room together, wow, Joan Walsh Anglund and Mary Engelbreit, it may not be possible to calculate just how many people have been encouraged by their life's work.

Fate would have it that both of these ladies have special meaning to me, and I have treasured work from each of them. One Christmas many moons ago, my in-laws gave me a small red book with soft pencil-like drawings of children celebrating Christmas. I was spending that Christmas in Sweden away from my parents and that simple book by Joan seemed to capture what the season was about. I knew they had searched for something I could have in English. Then we have Mary, whose work of whimsy and wit seems to strike a cord inside you the moment you see it. It just makes sense, reminds you of life's truths. The serendipity is that when I began to really move my photography into a career, I kept a drawing in my office of hers reminding me to keep moving forward. It depicted exactly what it means to go forward with a dream, especially of the artistic nature.

So I began with setting up my camera gear in a cozy part of the house and waited for Joan Walsh Anglund to come in for portraits. I did not expect what happened next, suddenly standing before me was a tall, elegant woman in her eighties, dressed in black with a striking red scarf. She came straight to me, taking my face in her hands, and then, hugging me as if I were one of her beloved grandchildren, she leaned in and whispered to me, "a stranger is just a friend you have never meet before." Suddenly I felt so touched and absolutely loved, instantly I understood that I am in the presence of a very special person. This night was to be a great gift, you know the kind that transcends most other moments and fundamentally changes you, I believe Oprah calls it an "A-ha moment."

I spent the night listening, watching, photographing those who came for this rare event. Some attendees had traveled long distances, even over the ocean from Japan just for this moment with Joan. Each and every person that came into the room, she greeted with the warmth and love of a Saint. I am telling you, Joan Walsh Anglund could teach any of today's celebrities something about being a real star. It is truly a great person who can make others
feel they are the most important person in the room, and listen so intently to them they feel really seen. I learned several things that night photographing Joan Walsh Anglund: school teachers who had been touched by her books and visits to schools would drive across states to thank her; baby blankets cross-stitched with her illustrations had become precious heirlooms; her co-workers from past greeting card companies longing to have another chat would cry tears of joy to see her; Joan would remember the fans who showed up time and time again at a department store book signing by name after all these years; mothers would bring their daughters and granddaughters to sit and be hugged; those who lost loved ones or faced trials and found hope in her words would receive her gratitude; a grandson would see how many people also loved his grandmother; and two beloved illustrators would come together in one moment and recognize each other from the heart, and each hold the other one's hands, hands that have both given so much hope to so many others.

[email protected] (Simple Grace Photography) Mary Engelbreitt joan walsh anglund Mon, 22 Sep 2014 13:14:23 GMT
Authentic Love Authentic Love, that's the phrase rolling around in my head, when I think of this young couple. They are fashioned together in similar personalities and spirit, I am positive this soon to be married pair are going to have a wonderful marriage. I am truly looking forward to capturing their Wedding Day! 

[email protected] (Simple Grace Photography) Wed, 14 May 2014 02:03:06 GMT
The cutest little online shop EVER!  I have a really awesome project to finish this year, and actually two projects I will be very excited to complete. We also have Weddings to shoot this coming year, and lots of fun things planned. I will have some great news for those who have your child's portrait taken regularly with me. I am happy to be engaged in some new endeavors, and can't wait to share! 

 Aside from working,  taking care of the kids, and this never ending Arctic vortex keeping us in more often, I've been doing more shopping online. I know the number one question that gets asked is, "What do I wear?" I had to share my latest find it's called JANE  and I love all the daily deals it sends from all kinds of crafty Boutique stores. This is a very good site for clothing and accessories for portraits. Right now I am looking at the cutest red Valentine's bow-tie for my little man, and it is ONLY 3.99 and shipping is very good as well.  And some really neat chevron jersey knit scarves for cheap. 

Moreover, what you wear should be comfortable, a color that flatters you, and it is nice to stay in the same range of colors when photographing family members together. That doesn't really mean you have to be matching to a T, but similiar tones and textures will help to create more depth and suit a particular season. 

Of course when in doubt you can always consult the all knowing PINTEREST! There are so many great guides out there to show you what to wear!


In the mean time, check out JANE!

[email protected] (Simple Grace Photography) Tue, 28 Jan 2014 03:21:13 GMT
The Treasures We Build Up. A year ago around Christmas, I stopped at this display of roadside junk, or at least that's what it appeared to be in the distance. As we approached, I noticed it was an elaborately constructed and seemingly purposeful arrangement of discarded goods. A pair of white satin high-heels peeked over an old wooden board, and there was also poetry written and displayed along, and on top of, a vintage Cadillac. It is hard to imagine how this large amass of oddball things could be sitting near the road, and what purpose did it serve?

It wasn't long before the answers came, when a kind Southern-speaking old man appeared to talk about his art work. I am not going to mention his name, but he spoke of how his family had congregated thru much of America's early history on that very crook of road as "business people" or peddlers. He felt that since the family tradition of selling goods on that very stretch of the road was so profound, he needed to find a way to continue the family presence. Now, many people would look at that old heap of rusted Cadillac and call it out as an eye sore that served no purpose. I would also suspect that a great deal of folks would find the art and cohesion of it, something of a modern-day Americana work of pure art. I have to admit the poems were interesting and he even invited you to make one up and leave it for others to read. 

I had to ask if anyone had actually purchased an item off his four-wheel display. I was surprised when he said, "yes, and not only that several families have been able to find some shoes and toys this time of year, and if I know they're coming sometimes the items will look a little better." I took this to mean that he may purchase quality items to lay with the other older relics, leaving those who come in need able to find a treasure indeed. It is entirely up to the visitors as to leave a donation, a poem, or take something needed from this art work on the road side. He got great joy out of talking to the kind folks that stopped by and visited, and he loved to sit under a tall Sycamore tree on the other side of the road, in a chair and watch passersby.

I thought about how much joy and meaning this road-side venture brought him. And I thought about the times I had passed it in previous years without a second thought, but "what crazy put all that up there." My heart was more in tune to the display after he told me his hopes, his vision, and the way it brought light to his life. He even wrote me my very own poem! I can't say I have had that experience too often, and right there on the stop without a hiccup in the rhyme, I came away with some artwork! There was a meaning for all of this, and it was obviously up to the viewer to determine something of value. He said, "It was sure fun to see what people came up with."

What does all this mean? It means, it is up to us to construct meaning and joy in our lives. It might not look like everyone else's vision, and that is totally okay to not have the same agenda as the rest of the planet, or one that makes sense from the outside looking in. All those items laying around are just that, and funny how we work our whole lives for "things." Seeing all of the worn-out shoes, dishes, and dolls was a stark reminder that the real value of things I am working on better have more longevity than any man-made contraption. The time, the love, the compassion, and the effort I give the people around me will always keep. If you feel caught up in accumulating things, just remember that one day it will all end up in somebodies pile, but what you cultivate in the way of relationships will last all the day's of their life.


[email protected] (Simple Grace Photography) Tue, 24 Dec 2013 05:52:59 GMT
Unscripted Life The photographs I try to print for my home most often are the ones that show relationships unscripted. This is what speaks to me when I wander thru my house on the days I am worried, or anxious. The images on my walls remind me that I will be fine, that I can't orchestrate every detail in life. Those moments are often the most beautiful. Here are a couple of examples from a session recently, where I could just imagine how it felt to have a big sister. A person that watches your steps and softly sweeps your hair away from your eyes. These are the best moments. times 

[email protected] (Simple Grace Photography) Tue, 15 Oct 2013 03:00:05 GMT