On the Banks of Fun Creek

When I was a kid I fell in love with the books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My favorite was “On the Banks of Plum Creek”, that title came to mind just now when starting this blog, because we had a fun time on the bank of the creek by our house. That fun was documented by Liz Griffin as she photographed Jillian and the rest of our family for Jill’s grad photo session.

I think the hi jinx on set that resulted in photos that are different and fun largely arise from the fact that Morgan had Covid. His symptoms were few and his energy good enough that we were able to carry on with the photo shoot. We had to, really, because Gina was home for a short time and Liz couldn’t reschedule within that time. We couldn’t afford to be nonchalant about the sickness though because there was alot coming up, including a big audition for Gina and Jill’s grad ceremony within days. We got into a creative, outside the box mindset and it translated into moments that Liz not only indulged but I would say encouraged.

I am sharing the pictures here for the main reason that “fun” is an angle on life that I am drawn to and I sense others enjoy the chance to smile or giggle too. When the picture gallery was delivered to us I was teary about some pictures, with many of these ones I could only laugh.

Social distanced family pictures with an outlaw getting arrested flavor to them.
I believe Liz said, “how about some sass?”
What it looks like at the Bayliss house when Mom is mad.
Jill’s face!
The one normal family picture, achieved by Morgan holding his breath.
Another take on socially distanced family photography.
We were invited to ham things up, to process the question, “where is Morgan?” His stance would suggest he was replying, “I’m right here, its not that hard.”
This would not be funny if any of our children had ever been lost but as a dramatic exercise it was fun to be goofy about this. Morgan is looking to the sky, perhaps it was a “God help them!” moment.
Morgan has given up, but Gina reveals that our investment in her education was not wasted.
Having given up we pose and Morgan begins to photobomb.
Our clan has had to become adept at teamwork. Jill’s friend Rayna was a part of our photo shoot. She was ready to be the one that upped the fun factor a bit and helped us put our teamwork in action.
The most risky Covid moments of the photoshoot. I love the contrast between our serious effort to pose and what the boys were stirring up in the background.
There is that big generous smile of Morgan’s revealed for all to see. Perhaps this shot could be called, “the singers and the cowboys.”
Russ grabbed pictures of Liz and Jill on Liz’s camera. This candid moment is another angle on the fun.

The truth is that Liz is a really flexible person to work with and she is dedicated to her craft. The fun is possible because of these things, and so are the awesome images she gets. In this picture which I took on my phone Liz took the angle necessary to get the shot she envisioned. From this low spot she created the photo below.
I could see us developing this one for a wall canvas.

We had some fun on the banks of fun creek on June 23rd. Thanks for the fun Liz! Fun is a funny word isn’t it? Especially when you use fun 7 times in 41 words, it starts to sound, well…..funny!

Day 14 – Postcards from the Heart

Oct 15, 4:00am

Mom, for some reason when I was dating and wanting to date, I didn’t imagine that I would be wanted by a typically handsome guy. Its a sad and unnecessary part of my inner drama. I married Russell not for his looks, but the beautiful soul I sensed lived within, I have always loved his ruddy, rounded presentation though. Anyways, time has moved on, Russ is now an athlete and Morgan has grown. This picture was taken almost exactly a year ago. Morg has had quite a growth streak since then. He hugs me and we are shoulder to shoulder + heart to heart. I think he is the crush of a few girls in his class. He has this huge heart, tender soul, creative wit and a growing ruggedness. He is tall and handsome. Lately I have been marvelling how God has given me beautiful men to live with. The boy on this horse, giving leadership with humor + kindness is a piece of you!

This is a special photo. In November 2019 we decided on a whim to ask Liz Griffin to come take pictures of our final cow chase of the year, when a combined herd of 370 cow calf pairs and 10 bulls would be coming down the road. (The largest group Russell had ever trailed all at once.) Exactly 10 years prior a newspaper photographer had been out to document a chase and those epic pictures were still on our wall. It was time for an update. This chase day unfolded for me like most others, a mix of work and worry, the details of feeding a large crew a couple of nourishing meals shaping my thoughts. That was the case again that day until about 6:00 pm when in the heat of last minute work, quite frazzled, I heard my phone ding. It was a message from Liz, it contained this picture as a sneak peek from her session that day. Everything came to a standstill for a minute as I processed what I was seeing. I started to cry. Jill was with me in the kitchen, she became alarmed until I assured her everything was fine. I said to Jill, “even if there are no other pictures worth noting from this day, that one alone makes the photo shoot worthwhile.” However, there were literally dozens of epic pictures. Liz submitted this picture to a photography contest in its horizontal version which includes more cows. In a pool of more than 25,000 images she didn’t win the contest but placed very strongly with it.

This postcard is the 13th of 22 in a series, using photos taken by Liz Griffin Photography over the course of a year of ranch and family life. I shared these particular images and words with my Mom in the fall of 2020 while she was fighting cancer.