Kyle + Jodi.

Kyle and Jodi have been together for about 9 years.  They met in high school and haven’t let go of each other ever since!

Two amazing families joined together to celebrate their nuptials in the town of Sterling, Colorado.

As a nurse, I’ve cared for patients who have been with their significant other for nearly 50 years or beyond.  A lot of them met their sweethearts in high school, and their love stories involved their share of “ups” and “downs,” like experiencing separation when the men had to serve overseas in World War II.  In spite of the hardships (and fears) surrounding that war, the couples I’ve met were able to reunite, one way or another, and create families, finish school, etc.  In a way, their love stories remind me of Kyle and Jodi’s, minus the World War II ordeal…  If you’ve seen Kyle and Jodi together, you know that they’ve got a solid connection and it’s so cool that is all began in high school.  Looking forward to seeing these two continue growing together!

Oh, and if there is one thing for certain, these two can throw one heck of a shindig!

Here are some portraits from this delightful, sunny day.

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Love in So.Cal.

IMG_4171Sunshine. Ocean. Love.

Good ol’ therapy for the soul!

I’m really glad these two invited me to California for their nuptials. It was a special day for them and, I must say, I have a special spot in my heart for the groom and his buddies: they display friendship and loyalty at its finest! They come from a small town in Colorado where everyone knows…well, everyone.  These guys met when they were were kids and have remained close friends ever since.   That’s a special thing.

Ryan and Mandy’s sweet invitation gave me the “nudge” I needed to listen to my gut and follow my heart. For that, I am so grateful.  Thanks, Ryan and Mandy!

I wish you much love and kindness, as you embark upon this new journey together! ryan and mandy1ryan and mandy2ryan and mandy3ryan and mandy4ryan and mandy5ryan and mandy6

hiatus, followed by a desert expedition.

I haven’t posted anything for awhile.  I’ve been so unsettled.

I’ve had quite the introspective ordeal during the last 2 months:  the urge to follow my heart and stay true to myself, or to keep doing what I was doing for the sake of “security” and the approval of others. It may not seem like a big deal, but I was feeling overwhelmingly stuck and the best way for me to get “unstuck,” was to do what seemed impossible and incredibly crazy.  This involved leaving a nice job in a great hospital and taking a leap of faith.

I’ve never been a good liar, so I chose to stay true to myself….  Despite what the critics had to say (or may say).  As the Middle Finger Project says, it’s okay to be “unapologetically” different and to trust yourself.

There is great adventure brewing inside of me and this is my moment to answer its call–not tomorrow, not next year.

I’ve packed a bag and I’m headed to California to spend some camera-time with 2 lovebirds, then off to the desert, I go!

That’s right…  National Geographic better look out!  Julie is going to the desert.  I figured this would be a rare instance in my life and I’d better seize the opportunity–NOW.   Fortunately, I have a supportive significant other, who believes in my potential to create meaningful things and to simply do good in this world.  His love (along with that of God and my sisters…and many others) gives me courage.

Here are some things I’ve been dabbling with during the last couple months–engagements and senior proms.  I love the enthusiasm of youth!  I thank everyone for giving me their time and allowing me to document their smiles, friendships, love and amazing beauty (inside and out).  I have loved every ounce of it.  I can’t thank you enough…

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Sterling High School Prom 2013

GW {BEFORE} Prom 2013

oh, babe. we’re alright.

Don’t worry sweet baby!

Don’t you ever worry bout a thing

Put your worries on the shelf

learn to love yourself, don’t be your own worst enemy.

-Alabama Shakes

i’m digging this change of scenery!

we moved from the foothills to the city.

the diversity has been a breath of fresh air to my soul.

(although, I do miss the open areas and small-town-feel along the foothills.)

i like wandering into “the unknown” with justin.

it’s fun.

i’ve been doing some soul-searching regarding my career and life’s direction, lately.

i quietly celebrate my small successes, then constantly wonder (and/or have nightmares) about things that can be improved upon… then, try to be better and either end up feeling like an idiot or a champ.

ah! the human psyche.  it’s humorous.

the other day, i picked up my camera and trotted around the neighborhood with justin.

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love is our cause.

you be the church, i’ll be the steeple.

-Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

Sometimes, you just need someone to give you a reality check…  A fresh perspective.

Fortunately, I have a partner who constantly does that for me, along with my amazing (sometimes, complicated) family and other really cool people.  Like T-Bird.

T-Bird and his Harley Davidson buddies gather each month in Denver to serve others.  (My in-laws are biker folk, so I felt utter kinship and adoration for T-Bird and his biker buds.  Their burly beards and mustaches are as burly and robust as their hearts.)   My sister, Chandra, cooks each month for this special cause.  I got to see love at its finest, as many people gathered to serve food, provide a consoling hug/ear and donate clothing, shoes and toiletries to people in need on Pearl Street in Denver.  All of this is done by simple, word-of-mouth.  It really is amazing.  Nearly 300 homeless individuals (or other people in need) had shown up.

Chandra is the amazing lady in the last photo (center).  When I start feeling discouraged or find myself in a ridiculous-complaining-sort-of-mood, I look to her and my mother to remember the finer things in life.   They both survived genocide—together (along with my other sister and family members)—and in America, they both have the goal of serving others.  (My mother works at the Children’s Hospital and makes sure everyone has a full stomach there, too.)  They see the big picture: life is bigger than we think, and seeing things beyond yourself, a big paycheck, fancy car, trendy clothes, etc. will help you to see that.

Ah, good people.  Thanks for spreading the love.

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