Summer 2019 (happy it’s over)

Summer 2019. A summer not soon forgotten. From the promise of a fun and exciting time to an absolute low point and then back to an exciting adventure lying just ahead.

My best friend, Mark, lost his son, Bret, this summer. I can’t imagine a more devastating situation. We celebrated Marks brothers life, in April of this year. There hasn’t been much time to heal from that before this happened. To say it cast a deep sadness on everyone is an understatement.

It almost felt like a cloud of emotion would dictate the next few months to come. With what was to happen over the next few months it felt like a line had to be drawn in the sand. Because one thing was so sad and the next things to come would also be an emotional challenge it felt like deliberate emotional optimism was essential. But indeed there was a battle to have. It wouldn’t be easy. What would be easy is sliding into a dark and negative space and then not be able to make the important decisions that had to be made. Or make the wrong decisions based in fear.

The next big thing to happen was making a decision that’s been on our minds for quite some time, selling our home. The home our daughter Emma spent some of her best years in, where we’ve made a lovely nest with dogs, cats and lots of good friends. Memories. All of them happy and loving. But my age, the size of our family and the size of our home and, importantly, finances, dictated a part of the decision. With equity in the house and market forces being what they are at the moment, our best opportunity to make a shift was this summer.

And so the battle began. And we were all fighting internal battles, each over our own fears and insecurities, and, predictably with each other. Thankfully our love and respect for each other runs deep and true. It hasn’t been easy. Maintaining emotional optimism in the face of so much heartbreak, fear and insecurity and uncertainty is hard. Loss is hard.

But life goes on and the choices are few. Allow the pain of loss, fear and uncertainty to guide the near future or accept that what has happened and what is happening is part of the life you are living at the moment. Acceptance doesn’t mean to toss out all the emotions you’re feeling, (how could you possibly forget or move on from the loss of a child?), but it does mean to accept that these things are happening to you right now and that we are more than just one thing. We are capable of being more than just how this moment is telling us to feel. We can manifest a different reality.

So, the summer has come and gone. We’ve successfully rode the wave of the predictably difficult summer and now find ourselves in a new home with healing hearts and looking forward to making new memories. And now as I look back at some of the photos I took over these past few months, I can see that there were plenty of good times. I am happy that Summer 2019 is over but I’m even more happy that we had the inner strength and vision to create a different reality to deal with all the circumstances life would be throwing at us. I’m happy knowing this is the beginning of a new chapter.

Below are a few shots that I managed to grab over the summer that offer a brief look and memory of the Summer of 2019.

Grandson Dane Kennedy Smith Graduates from High School and moves on to Indiana State University. Such an awesome young man, in so many ways.

My Son Steve turned 50 this year and his sweet and wonderful wife Laura saw to it that it would be a birthday to remember…and it was. Good friends, good food, fun times, fast cars. Thankfully I was able to join in on quite a bit of it too.

Not to be forgotten, my photography hobby and always having my gear with me paid off with this shot of a bald eagle soaring over Tacoma, Washington with Mt. Rainier in the background.


The Cowboy Junkies, Brian Culbertson, Brian Ferry of Roxy Music and The Christian Sands Trio managed to find a place in the summer schedule as well.

A short but nice camping trip to the coast with my friend Mark was fortunately well timed and needed.

Happy to have had this girl home for the summer. She makes life better.


And of course Lisa, my dear sweet wife with whom all of life’s challenges are possible.


So for all the difficulties that came our way this summer, looking back now, in our new home, friends healing from loss, I’m happy and proud to say we rose to and met the challenges. And looking at these photos I don’t think this will be the summer soon forgotten. I think we’ll remember how we rose to meet what was happening and didn’t let the hard times take over our hearts and minds. We are more and we are capable of feeling more than just one thing. We can create our own reality.

Now I’m looking forward to the Fall of 2019.

Peace to all.



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