Confronted with death (pt.1)

Over the course of the last year and a half there have been so many times I have wanted to share something, but due to the rapid pace of life and the sheer weight of it all, I haven’t. People write books about parenting adoptive children from trauma… and there’s a good reason why. Many people close to our hearts have passed away: family and friends. We’ve moved. Remodeled. Run businesses. We’ve run through testing, and jumped through hoops, with infertility. We’ve also dealt with deep challenges that aren’t even worth giving energy to at the moment. And in the midst of it all, we’ve forced ourselves to stay connected in a time when all we want is to curl up on our bed and hibernate. Most people have no clue what we’ve walked through because we don’t blast it all over social. We just don’t roll like that. But this… this challenge… was unlike any that I had experienced up until this point.

On July 2nd, I received a call from my dad that my mom had an accident. “She fell off a step stool. She’s in a lot of pain. Please pray for her.”

“Okay. I will.” I said.

Falls can be painful. I get it. I’ve taken a few.

A few minutes later I received another call. “Mom can’t get up. She can’t move her legs. An ambulance is coming.”

Concerned. I waited.

Thirty minutes later, another call. “They’re taking her to a bigger hospital… it’s not what they think.”

My sister and I booked a flight to Indiana for the next day. I canceled work and waited. Anxiety grew within me.

Dad called back. “They discovered mom had an aneurysm. The doctors are running tests.”

“Is she okay?” I asked.

“We don’t know yet.” my dad said. “She had a stroke too. She’s hemorrhaged. There is blood and water on her brain. They need to operate. It’s risky. If they don’t, she’ll probably die. If they do, she might die. It’ll be five hours before we know anything.”

A text from a doctor cousin… “You better get up there as soon as possible if you want to see her alive.”

My head spun and I felt numb. I walked around my room in a panic, not going anywhere. I knew that I needed to do something, but what?


Shaking, I knew what I needed.

Funeral clothes.


{I’ll be sharing our story through different posts. More craziness to come.}


Showcasing the adventures

Before Christmas, Melissa asked me to help her out with a personal project of great proportion… Well, four by two and a half feet.

This isn’t the first time that I have worked with Melissa. A few years ago she was a radiant bride, and now, a radiant mother to be…with twins!! Melissa wanted to document her and her husband’s travels over the years, as well as future adventures they will take as a growing family.

The vision (which I think is absolutely fantastic): calligraph their names on the map, assign a colored pin to each person and chart their travels, individually and together. Genius!




The finished product.



A new twist on something old

Everyone wants to have an escort (or table) card at their wedding or special event. Escort cards are wonderful to have because they kindly guide people to the proper table as opposed to letting your guests loose on an entire room and creating unnecessary chaos – and guaranteed at least one hurt feeling. Usually, all escort cards are pretty much all the same… I am sure you have noticed that when you go to an event, you find your name written on a standard plain card. Now, don’t get me wrong, I pretty much love the traditional table card with the cute little envelope. However if you are looking to break away from the ordinary, here are a few ideas.

A little over a month ago I calligraphed some shamrocks for a Saint Patrick’s Day themed wedding reception. The couple was having a classy wedding but wanted to really take advantage of the holiday that their wedding fell on. Shamrocks, and the color green, were incorporated throughout their reception. Is your wedding on or around a holiday? Incorporating the time of year is an easy way to spice up your wedding reception.

Recently, a couple wanted to say thank you to their guests for being a part of their lives and wedding weekend. Instead of traditional escort cards, I was asked to calligraph (in all lower case letters) their guests names on the back of their wedding favor. The bride and groom donated, in their guests honor, a monetary contribution to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association.

For our wedding, I wanted something completely unlike anything I had ever seen… naturally – why could I just not order some simple, prepackaged cards like everyone else? Daniel and I had our wedding reception at the Historic Train Depot in Winter Park. We both thought that the building was fantastic. It had old exposed brick and light fixtures hanging from the ceiling. The train even graced us with its presence as it ran down the tracks and blew its horn during our reception. With all of these things in mind, I created a vintage train ticket for each guest that took the place of a traditional escort card. Instead of calligraphing their table number on their card, I punched what table number they were to sit at. I wanted our escort cards to be fun, reflect the environment that we were in, and naturally I wanted them to be unique!