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Serving clients in Jacksonville, FL, St. Augustine, Amelia Island, Ponte Vedra and surrounding areas.


Jacksonville Senior Photographer // Scarlett Lillian Seniors: The real reality.

Mar 9, 2009

The real reality.

I've been doing my best to allow myself to take off time away from the virtual reality that has become my life as a photographer, and instead fill that space with the room to enjoy and cope with my real reality the past two weeks. With the passing of my dad, suddenly the last thing I wanted to do was spend time on Twitter, Facebook, blog or email that usually fills my days. It wasn't a complete detox b/c yes I had my iPhone with me part of the time, but otherwise, I just simply wanted to spend time with my close family and friends... and enjoy a beautiful new relationship that has brought me so many smiles in the midst of a sad time.

Because of this temporary withdrawal from technology, I have so much to blog about and catch up on. But not only did I detox from virtual reality, I detoxed from being a photographer. Below you will see, my friends Darice Michelle and Lyndsay Hyatt-Almeida captured so beautifully the most important day of my life. The day we celebrated the end of my dad's life. And what a celebration it was!

One thing about my family, we never do things like anyone else. And my dad's funeral was not going to be an exception. My mom didn't want it to be a sad funeral. My dad believed in living to the fullest, and she wanted his funeral to be a true celebration. She called it a "Wang Dang Doodle" funeral. In honor of his love, and I mean LOVE, for preserving Southern Heritage and all things related to the Civil War (hence how I got my name, Scarlett, after the book and movie Gone With the Wind), my mom brought in Confederate re-enactors to send my dad off in a truly beautiful procession following a horse-drawn carriage, and Southern Belles singing "Dixie" as he was placed in his new home. Afterward, we celebrated with a big party full of lots of my dad's favorite Southern dishes like oysters, macaroni and cheese, black-eyed peas, BBQ pork, fried chicken, collard greens, cheese grits, sweet tea, etc. My dad believed in goooooood eating, and sharing good food with others!

The Florida Times-Union even came out to do a story for the newspaper, and you can view the reporters blog entry and published stories here, here, and here.

Here are some of the great shots everyone got that I borrowed from their blogs!

My mom displayed all my dad's favorite things around the lobby including all his Civil War momentos, golf achievements, FSU Seminole trinkets, and the hundreds of cards he received from all of YOU!

The confederate soliders.

My dad's coffin adorned in a Rebel flag and the canvas photos I had given him and my mom for their living room two Christmases ago.

The preacher, Brother Bill Yeldell of Mandarin Baptist Church, who baptized me in 1994.

A little cry, ok a big cry, when watching the slideshow I made for my dad. You can view it below.

Someone special holding my hand through it all.

Laughing at how funny dad was dancing in the home footage in the slideshow!

I love this shot of my mom watching her sweetheart!

My dad's best friend, Eddie C, doing the honors of placing my dad on the horse-drawn carriage.

The beginning of the procession line. I was told about 200 people followed behind. What an honor for my dad!

Giving my mom a kiss with my... uh... bodyguard. :-)

At the mosemleum where he rests now.

More cool details.

Me and momma.

Singing Dixie.

Smiling at the party with my good friends Ginger and Darice!

With some high school friends!

My middle school girl friends, Rachel and Franca.

More girlfriends, Katie, Ginger, & Kacy.

My friends/old bride & groom Corinna and her husband Bobby.

Mom and me and Darice again!

Mom with the lovely newspaper reporter Tracy Collins.

A picture Mark grabbed of my mom and I afterward in front of my dad's mosemleum and the garden area my mom planted around it for my dad.

And saving the best for last..... yes, now it's out in the open about my new mystery man, Mark. If you are a Facebook friend, then you probably saw the "relationship status" change discreetly over the weekend, so I figured it's time I officially blog some pictures with Mark. He came all the way out from California, where he lives, to be my shoulder to cry on, but he really brought so many more smiles and laughs that I needed the most in this time. I love these few that Darice grabbed of him and I at my dad's celebration. Doesn't HE have the best smile in the world?? he he he

And a cute one from Lyndsay. I love how the party is swirling around us, and we are just caught up in our own little world. One day I'll spill all the cute stories on the blog of how our story has unfolded, but for now, we are enjoying being caught up in own little world. :-) There's more pics of us on Mark's blog if you want to snoop! he he

Lastly, here is the video slideshow I showed at my dad's funeral service full of years of photos and video footage of him and our family. It's funny how I think I've cried all my tears I can, but everytime I watch this, they still come pouring out. So you might want to grab some kleenex before watching. Enjoy!

More blog entries on the way..... a very belated WPPI recap with Lyndsay & Anderson's hot night shoot, my After Party, another glam fashion session.... other fun photos... whew, I'm behind. But I need to catch up with clients first. Back to email and editing! If you have emailed and not received a recent response, I'll be doing my best to tackle my inbox this week! Thanks for your patience!



Blogger Gwendolyn Tundermann Photography said...

Very beautiful blog entry and video! I love the dancing! That was a much needed break after that beautiful, bittersweet song. Then to show your parents' love for one another and photos of you and your Dad together... so touching! This is a beautiful tribute!

March 9, 2009 at 7:24 PM  
Blogger I'm Natalie. said...

Oh Scarlett. I wish I were there to give you a big hug. I'm about to watch your Dad's slideshow, and don't worry I grabbed a role of toilet paper. . . I know I'm going to need it! My brother died almost 2 years ago and still every time I watch his slide show I loose it completely.

So much love to you!

March 9, 2009 at 7:34 PM  
Blogger Shane Lafever said...

Very nice Home-going. It's a testimony of your family.

March 9, 2009 at 7:46 PM  
Blogger Kenzie Shores Photography said...

Kleenex definitly needed. Prayers and hugs to you Scarlett :)

March 9, 2009 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger Jasmine Marie said...

I watched the whole slideshow and what a full life your father lived. :)

You did such a wonderful job of putting it together and love just oozes from it!

March 9, 2009 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger Missy R. said...

This is a beautiful video & totally made me cry! The funeral was a great and wonderful way to lay your dad to rest and celebrate the wonderful man he is! Thank you for sharing! God Bless!

March 9, 2009 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger pink coffee photoart said...

it's so good to have you back! :)

March 9, 2009 at 8:09 PM  
Blogger April Hollingsworth said...

I want to say something other than "I'm so sorry for your loss." But you know we are all sorry. So my comment is this:


March 9, 2009 at 8:25 PM  
OpenID LoriMoss said...

Scarlett, I watched your Dad's slideshow and cried more than a few tears and also had a few laughs. It's amazing to know he's with his heavenly Father! And that he's waiting for your there.
Take care,

March 9, 2009 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger Ginger Dupre said...

Lyndsay is right, it is so good to have you back! Thank you for allowing me to share in that day with you, your mom and the rest of your family and friends. It was a day I will never forget. So touching.

March 9, 2009 at 8:48 PM  
Blogger Jen Harris said...

Scarlett, Your Dad's funeral was perfect in every way...he would have been so happy. I love you girl, and I am praying for you and Mom everyday. I do miss Mom's blogs, I hope that she continues writing somewhere, I still want to follow the journey she is on now. XOXOXOXO

March 9, 2009 at 8:58 PM  
Blogger Flaire Weddings and Events said...

What an amazing tribute Scarlett! I love how your mom incorporated all those Southern details. Such an awesome heritage.

God bless you both!

March 9, 2009 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger Memories by Micha said...

Wonderful video Scarlett. Tissues were much needed but what a wonderful life you had with him! May God be with you and your family!

March 9, 2009 at 9:20 PM  
Blogger Melissa Dale said...

I am a fan of your photography so I follow your blog on a regular basis. I just want to tell you how very sorry I am about your dad. It's absolutely beautiful how your mom and you celebrated his life! I just got done watching your video and I felt like I knew you all by watching it, it had me crying all the way through. Your dad was watching from heaven smiling at what a talented daughter he has!

March 9, 2009 at 9:49 PM  
OpenID MaDdIsOn said...

Just when I stopped the tears... they came rolling again. You did great!


March 9, 2009 at 10:22 PM  
Blogger Carla Jean said...

Oh, Scarlett. What a wonderful tribute to your father.

And we've all known, always, how much you take after your mom ... but until I saw your dad's childhood photos, I never realized just how much you look like him, too!

Thinking and praying for you frequently.

March 9, 2009 at 10:28 PM  
Blogger KellyLee said...

All I can say is wow. What an AMAZING tribute. The music choices in the video were unbelievable. I definitely cried and I don't even know you. You have experienced the wonderful love of an earthly father, how blessed you are. The funeral looks like it was an awesome tribute to a great man. Thanks for sharing such a real part of your life.

March 9, 2009 at 10:53 PM  
Blogger Amy Clifton said...

It's hard to know what to say, Scarlett. What an amazing celebration of your father's life...and what a life indeed! The video and the photos your friends took are true treasures. I know you said it before, but it's worth saying again: the job we have as photographers, capturing people's lives, is such a privilege and possibly one of the most important jobs ever. My heart aches for you and your mom, but I also am so happy that your not-so-mystery man is providing such happiness at just the perfect time. You will continue to be in my prayers.

March 9, 2009 at 11:13 PM  
Blogger Rebekah said...

what a beautiful celebration, s! isn't it wonderful as a christian to be able to CELEBRATE in someone's passing...even though we, being here, will miss them yet knowing that they are in the presence of our Heavenly Father?! i love that you & your mom put together such a wonderful tribute to your father with such a funeral...even down to the bright, happy colors you wore! :) and your video was amazing - so glad you were able to photograph & video so many special times with your dad even in his last days. what a memory to have and hold onto! :) praying for you and your mom...and your new relationship with not-so-mystery man. :)

March 9, 2009 at 11:31 PM  
Blogger Latrice of Bridal Opulence said...

Beautiful blog entry and truly a home going celebration. You are in my prayers daily.

Ummm...You & the Mystery Man, too cute!!

March 9, 2009 at 11:36 PM  
Blogger Corinna Hoffman Photography said...

Awww, Scar, that was great way to celebrate your Dad's life. Looking at this picture got me all teary-eyed again.. but I also can't help smiling and chuckling at some photos. It was great send off for your Dad :)

PS-you and Mark are adorable!

March 9, 2009 at 11:53 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Precious Scarlett... there are no words to express what an incredible tribute that was to your Dad. I am sitting here sobbing one minute, and laughing the next. Seeing this explains why you are so very amazing- I am convinced that a daughter's relationship with her Dad is the most important of her life. What an example he set for you in how to be loved & cherished.
Joe & I have thought of you so often the last few weeks, and so wished we could have been there to celebrate your Daddy's life. Please know we were celebrating his homecoming here in Nashville. I will never be able to walk in the Ryman again without thinking of him. :-)
Thanks so much for sharing this. It makes me want to hug the people I love a little tighter.
You & your beautiful mother are such an inspiration. I love you, my sweet friend. Praying for you always.

Amy Nash

P.S. You & Mark are adorable together!

March 10, 2009 at 12:25 AM  
OpenID Lynsi said...

It seems you family really knows how to live and how to celebrate even the hardest moments in life. This entry was beautiful - made me cry. And other parts even made me smile. Not sure if you realize how many lives you touch with your blog. All those journalism classes definitely shine through as you capture the day in such an emotional and heartfelt way. The service and celebration looked like they really captured your father's life and personality,

March 10, 2009 at 12:35 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

You did an amazing job at the service Scarlett and as I've told you before you are truly a reflection of your dad and he lives on through all you do. I was honored to be a part of this amazing tribute to his life.
--mystery man...

March 10, 2009 at 4:51 AM  
Blogger LeeAnn Townsend said...

What a special tribute to your father! I was very touched! What a special celebration until you meet again :)

March 10, 2009 at 7:47 AM  
Blogger Teresa Ribeiro said...


What an amazing testimony of your daddy's life. He seemed like an amazing man, and an amazing dad. I guess its true that a picture says a thousand words. These documented photos actually tell such a sweet story. Laughter, tears, and love.. oh so special.
My heart goes out to you. Im so glad that God has placed such a special person in your life in your greatest time of need. He must be such a great guy.

Love and Hugs, Teresa and Nelson

March 10, 2009 at 7:52 AM  
Blogger TiffanyM522 said...

God Bless. Your family is beautiful

March 10, 2009 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Leah said...

I have never met you, and have just recently started to follow your blog. (I am a friend of Delaney Holliman, and the sister of his sidekick Stephanie :o) I also dabble in photography). I just wanted to tell you that you are so very blessed to have such great memories of your father. What a wonderful life he had. What a beautiful relationship you had with him- I am sure you will treasure it forever. Your video tribute to him has me in tears. We have very few family photos, you have inspired me to take a more aggresive approach to capturing our memories, for they will last a lifetime. God Bless

March 10, 2009 at 8:58 AM  
Blogger justme said...

What a beautiful way to celebrate your Dad and who he was and is. Thank you for sharing him with so many of us. (= I am sniffling my way through the slideshow!

March 10, 2009 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger Beautiful Things said...

Hi, Scarlett...I know this was a hard post for you in a lot of ways. What a beautiful celebration! Your dad was so blessed to have a daughter like you!
Congrats to you & Mark...isn't God so amazing to bring along such joy in the midst of such pain? He never forgets us. I have a friend whose mom is dying of cancer right now...and God is doing the same for her. It's really beautiful to see!
Hugs to you and welcome back. ;)


March 10, 2009 at 9:36 AM  
Blogger jessica lynn said...

what a wonderful tribute to your father. and what a wonderful blessing mark is to come into your life just when you would need him most.

March 10, 2009 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger Erin Poticny + Megan Cappiello said...

Scarlett, what a beautiful tribute and amazing story. Thank you for sharing. Your family is beautiful and I am thrilled you have another shoulder to cry and laugh on! I am at work and watched this and now have tears down my face as I am about to meet with a Bride and Groom! :) God Bless you, your Mom and Mark and his Mom, too! Good to see you back! With Love--Erin

March 10, 2009 at 2:36 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

This is SOOO sweet. I'm so glad I was there to share, and these pictures are beautiful. Tell Mark I tried to leave a comment on his blog post, but my computer is not coorperating with the web site right now. I can't even update my blog any more :(

Rachel S.

March 10, 2009 at 4:10 PM  
Blogger b.mofoto said...

I LOVE the shot Mark got of you and our mom. That looks like 2 Southern Belles sipping mint juleps in a garden. That picture would make your dad smile. Can't wait to chat! Love you!

March 10, 2009 at 10:10 PM  
Blogger Grits said...

What an amazing tribute to your dad! I watched the entire slideshow and could not help but cry. Saying prayers of comfort for you and your Mama!

March 11, 2009 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger Laura Lu said...

Oh Scarlett...that was so beautiful and touching! (I went through a handful of kleenex.)

March 11, 2009 at 4:31 PM  
Blogger Amy Hutchison said...

THIS is amazing. I have always wanted to replace my funeral with a celebration of life, but have always been worried that my family wouldn't support it. I am so proud of you and your mom for doing this. Who wants to know they left their loved ones back at home upset and asking "why"? Your dad would be so proud, I'm sure.

And you're so cute about Mark. Funny how things work out. Now I know who this Mark guy was that I added on twitter just because you told us all to! ha ha!

March 11, 2009 at 9:19 PM  
Blogger Donadio Photography said...

Such a beautiful blog entry and video. Thank you for allowing us into your life. You and your family are an inspiration to all. God Bless!

March 12, 2009 at 12:25 AM  
Blogger Jill Fleming said...

Scarlett - we only met briefly at WPPI and I had no idea what you were dealing with on a personal level. I came to your blog for the first time after I got back from WPPI & learned of your loss and the struggles you've been dealing with. Your poise and grace are amazing - I don't know you but I'm so glad to see that god has sent you joy during this time of sadness. Your video was phenomenal & full of so much love - it had me laughing and crying - thank you so much for sharing!

March 12, 2009 at 3:37 PM  
Blogger Amy Owens said...

You sure as heck were right about the tissue. Beautiful job Scarlett! I wish my folks weren't so camera shy, the majority of the pics I have of them are angry glares. You are blessed to have really KNOWN your daddy. I'm sure he's smiling down on you from heaven.

March 13, 2009 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger Starfish Photography Studios said...

Wow, Scarlett!

Words can't express how touched I am by your family's obvious love, devotion, and respect for each other. You have been truly blessed to have had a life with so many rich experiences. What could be better than living a life where you know you are loved unconditionally, and are able to give that love in return?

Thank you so very much for sharing your precious memories. It is a joy to have been able to witness (from blog-land) a family like yours!

My love,
Jenny Medure

March 19, 2009 at 12:12 AM  
Blogger PicturesByTracy said...

The most amazing tribute to your father Scarlett. Thank you for sharing your life, I have been following your blog for such a long time and feel like I know you even though we have never meet. It's easy to see how much your dad loved his baby girl and wife. A good life & man indeed.... ~HUGS

March 31, 2009 at 7:36 PM  
Blogger ksenija said...

this was an incredibly moving & heartfelt tribute in memory of what clearly was an amazing father, husband, friend & person. thank you for sharing. my heart goes out to you & yours. <3

April 1, 2009 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Scarlett, this was such a beautiful post. And so touching. I am so happy that you seem to have such a wonderful mother and as for your new special someone -I am so happy that you are happy. : ) God bless you, girl ; )

April 3, 2009 at 1:57 PM  

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