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Every life has a purpose. Every person
has a story. What's yours? This is a quiet place to read, and a safe place to share and see the significance of your story. Come on in. Get cozy. Relax and enjoy!


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I bought her from a street vendor in Haiti.

Poverty stricken men begged for our business. They didn’t have to beg me a second for her. I saw her. I wanted her from the minute I laid eyes on her.

I bought her for $12. Didn’t barter a cent. She’s worth far more.

If she were to break, I would freak.

She’s pregnant. Expectant. Waiting on something more.

She doesn’t push or shove her way to delivery. She wants nothing more than to birth when the time is right.

She’s beautiful. Ripe. Swollen with new life.

Moves my heart so.


She’s been on my dresser for a year and a half. I stare at her nearly every morning before I rise from bed.

Three weeks ago, I brought her to her rightful place. Downstairs. Where we move. Where we live. Where I write and ponder. Where she can be treasured, loved and remembered for who she was, for who is, for who she will be.



Full of promise.




My spirit was broken.

It felt as if every passion, every desire, every love, vision and dream had been stripped from my soul and I was being asked to face all the truths of reality.

It was brutally quieting and humbling.

Yes, one month ago, I sat meek and mild, hunched over in the middle of our laundry room with huge piles of clean and dirty clothes all around me. I folded the mess and spoke my deepest, most intimate needs through tears as my husband passed on his way out to another 12-year-old baseball game.


“I just really need someone to root for me,” I said, among other significant truths.

This wasn’t a husband vs. wife fight. This wasn’t a me against the world fight. This wasn’t a pity party. This was a spiritual battle, a kingdom battle of eternity vs. reality. An asking all the big life questions kind of moment. An asking what’s the purpose of my life kind of moment, and who’s really, truly in this with me kind of moment.

After all…

“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 

I needed to know someone was rooting for me.

I needed to know someone was by my side no matter what.

I needed to know that someone really understood what was going on in my life, in my heart, in my mind, in my soul.

I needed to know that someone completely and wholeheartedly understood and embraced my dreams and visions, even if they’re a little or a lot crazy.

I needed to know someone had my back.

I needed to know that someone was following my story, that someone cared for every detail, that someone was willing to sit down and hear me all out.

I needed someone to believe in me.

I needed someone who understood my most authentic intentions.

I needed a real, live breathing body willing to take time to really get to know me, say “you go girl,” and be all in with me and for me.

I needed more than surface things.

I needed someone who was willing to go far beneath the surface to things that really mattered.

I needed to feel known, tended, and supported for who I was, for who I am.

We’re free and brave in the USA. We love our independence, our autonomy. We’re busy, we’re bound and determined to make a whole lot of things happen to achieve the American Dream in our own little corner of this great land.

But I’m concerned.

I’m concerned we’re far too busy, far too independent, far too bound and determined.

Many of us are missing out on real, deep, authentic connection.

I’ve been told a few times that I’d never share things in “real life” that I share here on the blog.

It’s true.

Or maybe not…

In some cases, I share way more on the blog than people think I should, way more than others would, way more than makes people comfortable.

Do you know why that is?

Because our lives are SO crazy busy that there’s no real place for sitting with someone for hours and learning where they are, who they are, what their greatest dreams and insecurities are on any given day. How many people do you REALLY know? I’m just asking, because generally speaking, I think we’re far too busy to give one another the real time of day.

I’m so over “How are you?” “Good.” “How are you?” “Fine.” I don’t even want to ask or answer anymore.

If you want to know the real me, we honestly need at least a couple hours together in good hearty conversation, maybe three, four or more (without kids). Who has that kind of time these days?

So I share here for those who are willing to listen, for those who are willing to join in the conversation. Real, authentic conversation. Deep, meaningful, sometimes dark conversation. Faith, fun and adventures, dreams and visions, living and loving through the hard and easy stuff, too.

I don’t know about you, but right now, I don’t have a place for the connection and depth I need as a human being. Real, long-lasting community is hard to come by these days.

Our busy culture concerns me.

We’re missing out on connection and authenticity.

People need to be known.

People need to be understood.

People desire these things deep in their souls.

So often, we’re just passing by hurting, needy souls and don’t even know it.

I’m weary of living on the easy, breezy surface.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Gandhi

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…”  Matthew 7:12

This morning I woke up with fresh perspective.

I must be the change I wish to see in the world.

I must do for others what I would love to have done for me.

I need to be way more intentional about learning people, knowing people, speaking life to them, understanding them right where they are.

I need to be way more intentional about hearing people, understanding them, believing in all of who they are.

I am going to ROOT for the special group of people God puts in my path every day.

Because somebody needs encouragement. Somebody needs to know they’ve been heard. Somebody needs to know they’re doing okay. Somebody needs to know they’re on the right track. Somebody needs to know they’re known.

This isn’t so much about helping people as it is about knowing people.

This isn’t a “rah rah sis boom bah” kind of rooting. This is a quiet rooting, a listening, hearing, embracing and wholly understanding another human being right where they are, right where God’s growing them and leading them.

I’m rooting for you, friends.

Be the change you wish to see.

Root others on.

Root on.

We must.


window box

We’re hosting a Ginny’ Owens acoustic house show two weeks from tomorrow.

I’m outside wiping down the siding, railings, window sills and window boxes in our front porch. They’re full of dried up bugs and leaves from fall, crusty things, gross disgusting dirty things, caked on muddy things from barn swallows who attempted to nest on our front door. I want to wash it all away. I want to make it clean. I want to make all things new. For Ginny. For our guests. For my husband. For me. Make us new, Heavenly Father.

It feels good to wash and wipe surfaces. But it’s all surface, isn’t it? All this cleaning, all this preparing? This house show isn’t about that. Because we’ll never be clean, we’ll never be wholly pure, we’ll never be whole on earth.

So I stop.

The realization washes over me at the window box filled with coral geraniums and tiny, but sturdy multi-colored flowers I discovered at our nursery’s mid-season sale.

The only thing she’ll see is my heart.

window box 2

There’s grace in that realization.


Freedom to be me. Fully me.

The only thing she’ll see is my heart.

God’s preparing this moment, this concert, to help me see that life’s not about appearances. It’s about my heart. Where is your heart? Where is your soul? Where do you stand today? Are you all about appearances and making things look clean and sparkly on the surface, or are you working in deeper, hidden places?

window box 3

I stop and create. These words, they fill me. These words, they nourish my soul. My fingers fly like the wind. Because I was created to express God’s beauty, God’s truth, God’s wisdom.

Today, as I clean and make all things new on my front porch, I know one truth for sure.

The only thing Ginny will see is my heart.

The only thing God sees is my heart.

And the only thing people really need to see when they come to our house for that concert – is faith, hope, love and the sweet Spirit who will meet them here. Right where they are. Clean and unclean. Tended and untended. Always loved. As is.




Sitting on the deck.

It’s just me. Birds singing their song. A crescent moon hung in the sky. And God.

I’m wondering.

Perhaps we have it all wrong.

Perhaps we’re not lonely at all.

Perhaps we need more quiet space. Space to be. Space to breathe. Space to listen and find our place in this world.

For me, it is true.

One star hangs bright. Alone. To the right of the crescent moon.

I see it. Twinkling, burning bright from a distance.

Clouds painted across the sky.

God’s simple majesty awaits.

We must silence ourselves for His grace.


Be. With the crescent moon and twinkling star and birds singing their song.



I took a risk. I knew I needed to.

I’d been following the fundraising race announcements on the nonprofit organization’s Facebook page for weeks. Something told me I was supposed to go. Something told me I was supposed to race. Something told me I needed to be there. Something whispered. Take a risk. Ask. Just ask if they need a photographer.

My brain told me no. My brain told me stop. My brain told me I should stay home. This is a ridiculous idea. It’s too late. Don’t even go there. I have nothing to offer. I’m not professional. And duh! They already have a photographer. What qualifies me to photograph a race projected to earn $40,000.00 for children who have Down syndrome? What makes me believe I’m good enough to take on this task when I’m still in exploration mode? Where in the world do these crazy ideas keep coming from anyway?

I didn’t know.

I don’t know for sure.

Perhaps it was God’s still small voice.

So I called.

I couldn’t ignore the feeling I was supposed to do this.

I picked up the phone. She answered.

“Hi! My name is Amy. I see you have a fundraising race coming up this Saturday. I have 14 1/2 years of experience as a speech-language therapist, but I stopped working in December to focus on writing and exploring special needs photography. I’m looking for opportunities to do some special needs photography and wondered if there was any chance you needed a photographer for the event this weekend. And by the way, one of my former patients comes to your center for activities quite often. I’m sure her mom would be happy to vouch for me if you need a reference.”

She told me that when the race planning committee met a week and a half prior, the news was that the originally scheduled photographer was no longer able to shoot the event. She wasn’t sure if they’d found a replacement photographer, but she was going to check with the committee chair. And she wanted to know the name of my former patient’s mom. I reluctantly shared the mom’s name, and she knew her right away. “Oh yes, they’re very active here,” she said, and promised to get back to me within a day.

I hung up.

I’d done all I could.

Now it was in God’s hands.

30 minutes after I hung up, I decided I’d better text that mom and give her a heads up that I inquired about photography for the race…just in case they called her for a reference.

When I texted the mom, she responded immediately. “Ha! You are actually already too late! I just got off the phone.” In those 30 minutes between my phone call to the nonprofit and my heads-up text to the mom, the mom just so happened to call the nonprofit for something else, found out I had made the contact, and gave me a “rave review” without me even knowing!


Quiet confirmation.

The next day, the nonprofit called with an update. They’d found a replacement photographer, but could really use a second one. So they invited me to photograph, confirmed that my name would be added to the list of volunteers, and reminded me to pick up a t-shirt at the volunteer desk.

Race day arrived in the blink of an eye.

The air was brisk, chilly. I wore a long-sleeve t-shirt with a short-sleeve t-shirt over it, and figured I’d put the volunteer t-shirt right on top of that. I chose jean leggings and Target Toms. Neither were perfect for a race, but the Target Toms had brought me through long days in Haiti and Dominican Republic just fine, so why not for this, too?

The race was awesome, a photography dream come true. Hundreds of children who have Down syndrome and their delightful family and friends? Free reign to photograph those beauties in a fun, purpose-filled setting? Who could ask for more? Seriously. It was a joy.

After I picked up my t-shirt, I realized I just needed to own this thing. I needed to go ahead and take those photographs. Ten minutes in, I noticed the other photographer in the thick of things at the registration desk, but I knew that wasn’t my place. So I set my mind to do my own thing and just go for it.

I photographed moments leading up to the race. I photographed the race. I photographed special events after the race. And get this…I walked-ran the race, too.

I didn’t plan to walk-run the race, but how silly was that? Apparently, I didn’t know myself quite as well as I thought I did. Me at a race with hundreds of children with Down syndrome and I’m NOT GOING TO RUN with them? How clueless was I arriving in my jean leggings and Target Toms?

So after I took all the starting line and first block photographs of the 5K heat and 1 mile heat, I decided to bring up the rear and run the 5K. I ran. As fast as I could. With my camera. My goal was to catch up to the 5K stragglers. I ran for a long time all by myself. When I finally caught up to the last of the stragglers, I ran up ahead and captured their moment. Then I ran more until I caught up with the next group, and captured their moment. I ran further ahead, group by group, moment by moment. I was the racing photographer and I was bound and determined to photograph this race in real time. Because why not?


I ran with children who have Down syndrome. I ran with their families. I ran with their friends. I ran with their teachers. I ran with their siblings and supporters. We high fived. We laughed. We stopped for bruised knees. We cheered each other on. It was awesome.

I crossed the finish line by myself. There were no familiar faces cheering me on in the final seconds of the race. There was nobody to hug, nobody to high five. There was nobody there to take a photo to mark my first 5K. But it was truly okay. That day, that race, I didn’t need external fanfare. I had all the fanfare I ever needed. Internal joy and peace that this was totally my gig, my happy place.

Quiet confirmation.


I took 1,014 photographs that day. I had to triple check the number. I couldn’t believe it was actually true.

For the next two days, I spent nap time and late night time editing the photos, deleting the junk and selecting the ones I felt were best to share with the nonprofit. Three days after the race, I delivered a CD of 419 photos to the nonprofit’s office.

All in all, I was proud of those 419 photographs. I was happy with the way they turned out. They brought me joy. They brought me peace. I knew now. I had confirmation. Given complete freedom to photograph and the right set of circumstances, I really could create the beauty, the art I’d envisioned.

Of the 419 photographs, I was particularly proud of a smaller group of them, and ADORED six so much that I wanted to share on my blog and a new Facebook page I’m developing for photography. I sent an inquiry to the hosting nonprofit and discovered that race participants signed a release for the nonprofit to share the photographs. As a result, the nonprofit has kindly agreed to contact six families on my behalf to see if they’ll give me permission to share the photographs (without any reference to names, of course).

When I received that notice, my heart shifted.

Inquiries will be made. Perhaps some or all six families will give me permission to share the photographs I took of their beautiful children at the race. But there’s no guarantee. There’s a chance that all of the photographs from that day will remain a quiet confirmation between me and God, a quiet confirmation of my call to press forward with photography, especially special needs photography.

Quiet confirmation.

Early last week, the nonprofit organization shared 100 of my photographs from the race on their Facebook page. They included a few of my favorite photos. Let me just say, it has been pure joy to see complete strangers’ response to the photos. God knew this was the quiet confirmation I needed.

In response to a sweet girl’s photograph that was a bit too dark in my estimation, a photograph I knew I could’ve shot better had I more time with her.

“Beautiful. Seriously.”

In response to the photo I LOVED, but critiqued because it was a bit blurry.

“You look great Benny!” and “Go Benny go!”

In response to a photo of a daddy hugging his baby girl that showed the deep emotion I sense from parents of children with special needs.

“This is so sweet.”

In response to the photo of a little boy who toddled towards me at the finish line. He was so cute and so on the move that my best photo of him turned out a bit blurry for my preference.

“Love you Luc!” “Great photo!” and “Love you buddy!”

In response to the little girl that hid behind her mama and ran away from me earlier in the day, the little girl I captured on stage after she was tired and worn out, but still endearing and oh so sweet.

“My princess Aly!!”


Quiet confirmation.

None of those people knew me. None of those people had any connection to me. They simply saw the photographs and recognized them as beauty.

Perhaps we don’t need others’ loud fanfare after all. Perhaps quiet confirmation is all we need. Quiet confirmation of a life well lived. Quiet confirmation of a choice well made. Quiet confirmation of a call answered. And warmly received.


  1. Carol Femling says:

    Sounds like a day that I’d ENJOY!! I’m so glad that you were able to do this, Amy! I’d love to see the pictures sometime. 🙂

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