Photography by Bill Lemery, my “Poppy”

Featured on the home page of my blog is a beautiful photo of a few delicate, white peonies. I love this photo. It is hanging in my bedroom above my desk where I do a lot of writing. Its simple and clean colors inspire me to clear my mind. Something about it is just so refreshing and classic.


The most special part about this photo is that it was a gift from my grandfather, or as I call him, my Poppy. Poppy has a true talent for photography. All of his photos capture the light just right. They are absolutely beautiful and look absolutely professional. He has natural born talent that I truly envy! Maybe I’ll inherit it one day…

I was lucky enough to get to interview Poppy about his photos and he had some wonderfully insightful things to say…

  1. Poppy, tell me a little bit about yourself

    Well, let’s see… Basically there’s three things I like to do, one is eat, two is play golf and three I like to take pictures. Its just so fun to have your phone as a camera and get pictures that are not really staged. I especially like nature pictures. You know, you just see different things in different light so I really do enjoy doing that. If I had my life to do over I really think I would like to be a wildlife photographer. And I love to travel.
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  2. What inspired you to take up photography?

    Well, a long time ago, I got a bird book and I actually drew this bird that was on the front of this little book. And then I started doing some drawings and things that I really liked and that was kind of a slow process. So when these little cameras started coming out when I retired I got this little camera, olympus I think it was. It was really small but it took great pictures. I carried it with me all the time when I took walks. I liked to get pictures of caterpillars and trees. I just really like the different shapes, lighting and the way lines go and how they contrast. It was something that was free and you could do wherever you go.

    I read one time that Monet said it is all about the light. He would take the same picture and paint it on different canvases but at different stages of the day to capture the difference in the lighting.
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  3. What would you say is your favorite subject to photograph?[Specifically in nature]. . . You know I really like to photograph animals but I don’t have a camera capable of capturing them so quickly and so easily. I really like insects as well. You see these little bitty insects that you don’t even realize are right in your back yard. I just like anything with a lot of color.IMG_5499.JPGBrian 198.JPG
  4. Do you have a favorite photograph that you have taken?Yes actually! I have a big picture at home hanging in our exercise room. It was from our trip to New England and its of an oak leaf hydrangea; it was a blue one. I really like that.
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    Blue Oak Leaf Hydrangea, one of Poppy’s favorite photos

    There’s another one, one I took in Colorado Springs. There’s a big resort there and I took some pictures of these flowering bushes. They had pink flowers. I really like that one. Those are probably my two favorites. 

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    Pink flowering bush Colorado Springs, one of Poppy’s favorite photos
  5. Is there anything else you want to add? Any advice about photography or life in general?Just be aware of your surroundings all the time, any place you go. It could be a person, it could a place, you know an insect or an animal or a tree. Take several pictures and that way you can eliminate the bad ones.img_0325Let me tell you. Your uncle Brian has taught me to live in the moment. I used to be so aggressive. I love to play golf and my idea of playing golf was to play as many holes as I could possibly play, as fast as I could. When started playing with Brian, he had to take it so slow. And I realized “You know what? I enjoy this a lot more now than when I was just trying to hurry around.” But all of life is that way. Everybody’s in a hurry to get some place. Just enjoy right now.
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    My sweet Uncle Brian has taught Poppy to slow down and live in the moment
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    My beautiful Nana and Uncle Brian


John-David: The Biggest Blessing

There are many moments that define a person’s life. Sometimes, when reflecting on one’s life, it is hard to pick out one true defining moment. When I look back however, there is one moment that really stands out to me.

Growing up, my parents instilled in me the values of serving others. Both of my parents were always donating time and resources to those who were less fortunate. When my parents sat my sisters and I down to discuss the possibility of becoming foster parents, without a question my sisters and I all immediately agreed. I was eight years old.

We had many adorable and wonderful little foster brothers and sisters come in and out of our house. To this day people still ask me what that was like almost as if it was some sort of burden. I cannot emphasize enough how much of a blessing that was. I will never forget the feeling of finding out that we were going to have the privilege of having another little person in our home to take care of, look after and play pretend with.

With each child that came in and out of our home my little sisters and I learned a new lesson. We knew that each placement could last a few sweet days or, if it was God’s will, a lifetime. We learned to savor the time we had with our little siblings. We learned to love unconditionally and to live in the present because you never knew what could happen in the next moment. Most importantly, we learned how absolutely blessed we were to have been given our parents. They are an absolute and true example of unconditional love.

Little did I know that all of these small defining moments were leading up to the one true defining moment of my life. God knew perfectly what he was going to do next in our lives. One night we got a phone call that a little three-month old baby boy needed a loving home to keep him safe. We scrambled around, friends and family donating clothes and diapers and bottles. I remember picking out a teddy bear from my collection of stuffed animals to put in his little bed.

The next day, my mom picked my sisters and I up from school and we went to meet the social worker who would bring me my little brother. I was ten years old. I remember getting out of the car and seeing a sweet little toe headed baby boy. I was the first one to get to hold him and I will remember that moment for the rest of my life.

That day was truly the best day of my life and I will cherish it forever. The incredible choices and sacrifices that my parents have made in order to show me what it is like to have a servant’s heart is something that will impact me forever. I will spend the rest of my life trying to give back to those less fortunate because of the pure love and hope that my little John-David has given me.