three photographs and an “ah-ha”

View from the parking garage, TPA

So much to do in the next 24-hours… but then we’ll be cruising, literally, with no alternative but to relax. I’m just going to have to make my list and go through today like a writing machine. Consequently – and no offense to my most excellent readers – I’m resorting to the tried-and-true “Three Photographs” formula for today’s post.

# 1 – PURE SUNSET: I’ll start at the end because this is the photograph I’d like as today’s lead. After dinner (see below) we rushed to Tampa International Airport (otherwise known as “Andrew’s second home”) to collect him once again. This time his route from Italy went like this: Pisa… Munich… Kiev… Munich… D.C…. Tampa. Yes, everyone knows that Kiev is on a direct route from Pisa to Tampa!

So I dropped Rebekah off at arrivals and put the car on the roof just in time to catch the Sun as it disappeared into the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve discussed in this space before why I always park on the roof. Check out the sunset if you’re ever tempted to park on levels 2-8 again.

Lacey, Rebekah, David, Craig, Naomi...

# 2 – DINNER: When Naomi is home it’s always, “Daddy, can ________ come to dinner?” and, “Daddy can you cook my favorite _______?” and, “Daddy can we use the _____?” (fortunately, that’s where the similarities to high-school stop!) This time the answers were:

  • “Lacey,”
  • “spaghetti,” and
  • “State Farm still has you blacklisted so Craig’s going to have to drive….”

Of course we love having Naomi’s friends over, and I don’t need any excuse to cook something extra special.

Hospitality is a privilege, and it is such a treat to enjoy deep, meaningful conversation with young people. We covered family, hopes and dreams, joys, careers, and matters of faith.

David, contemplating his toes

# 3 – DAVID HENRY: What, you thought maybe I’d skip the grandson? I don’t think so! He’s six months old now and this is only the third time I’ve seen him. Thanksgiving, my brother’s memorial and now for the family cruise.

I’m trying to use images that are not posed. I took a series of shots trying to get him to smile at me and some of them were great. Then he looked away, considered his toes, and paid no attention to the guy with the camera. He’s a little fuzzy, but I love the image.

THAT’s IT: The best moments are unrehearsed. And that’s my thought for today, before I rush into news articles and columns and All-Pro-Dad lists. We can try, try, try to get things right; we can set up the backdrop and coach the pose and wait for “the moment;” but it’s typically when our guard is down that serendipity tends to break in.

Always something to learn

My prayer is that this week is full of such moments for all of us; that we let our guard down and open our hearts; that we provide the space for God to break in; that we set the stage – yes – but then give the magic time to settle in.

This time tomorrow we’ll be on our way to the Disney Boat. Blogs may or may not post. But I promise I’ll be taking notes along the way – DEREK

photography The Life That Truly is Life The Life-Charged Life The Story Travel

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

4 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Thanks for taking your camera where ever you go. Love seeing your photos, especially David Henry. As a grandmother of my Henry David, I can relate to you. Thanks


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