Last year (and the beginning of this year) was pretty rough emotionally. After losing our beloved dog, Tyler, two close friends succumbed to cancer, two more died suddenly and unexpectedly. Other friends and family members were diagnosed with cancer. It seemed like every time I finished mourning, there was another emotional punch in the gut waiting around the corner. Then, early this year, my grandfather passed at 99 years of age…


That’s a photo of him that I took as he looked over the manuscript of his memoirs, which I helped him edit and publish several years ago. He was an amazing guy. If you ever want to know about someone who lived a truly full life, I will be happy to bend your ear. He always made me laugh, and he was quite the charmer. I am incredibly grateful that I got to see him a couple of months before he passed. After learning he was gone, I felt quite numb. I don’t know how to explain it. I had dealt with so much in the 8 or 9 months leading up to that point that I just didn’t know how to feel. His passing was incredibly peaceful and he was surrounded by his family. If I could wish for a way to go, I would emulate his departure from this world.

Afterwards, I realized that I had been ‘dealing’ with so much that I had not been writing much here on the blog, or doing much other than focusing on work. I couldn’t shake the funk. It didn’t feel right.

A month later, I found myself at a ‘highland festival’. Given my Scottish heritage, I decided to take a look around to see if there was anything I wanted to pick up. I needed a new belt for my sporran (the little bag you wear in front of the kilt, for those of you who are not versed in Scottish dress attire), and, while I was perusing the wares, I found an assortment of pins with Scottish clan coat of arms and mottos on them. I had always thought that the particular clan that the Scots in my family come from had the motto, “Hold Fast”. How very Scottish. Stand your ground. You won’t move me.

To my surprise, I found that my particular sept, a ‘sub clan’, actually had its own motto. “I shine, not burn.” It struck a chord with me. I am not being consumed by my trials and travails. They make me who I am.

Of course, once I broke out of my somewhat dour mood, wedding season was upon me. I just finished four weddings and two engagement sessions in two and half weeks. It’s been pretty busy, leaving little time to write or share things with everyone. But that’s going to change…soon…I promise…after the holiday…I need a short vacation….but then, it’s time to shine!

self portrait

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