Seasoned Love - Dave and Barbara's Celebration Photo Session

Yesterday I posted on the newest of loves, sharing images from the

Ben & Corrie's July 18th wedding

. I usually don't post more than once a week but I just couldn't wait to post this evening portrait session with Dave and Barbara Masoner. Barbara recently celebrated her 75th birthday and Dave turns 78 tomorrow and they celebrated their 46th anniversary this year. Barbara is a talented portrait artist and her keen artistic eye chose a lovely spot by a sculpture along the Chattanooga Riverwalk as the location for their photoshoot.

In front of a sculpture along the Chattanooga Riverwalk
In front of a sculpture along the Chattanooga Riverwalk

Dave and Barbara are more than just a beautiful older couple that whom I got the privilege to photograph. They are dear, dear friends to me and my family.

Close up to the sculpture
Close up to the sculpture

My family and I moved to Chattanooga two years ago and I remember telling friends I was leaving that we had a lot of family we were moving closer to and that I had one good friend in Chattanooga. That friend is Barbara.

Barbara seated on a bench along the Riverwalk path
Barbara seated on a bench along the Riverwalk path

A woman I know once said that everyone should have a friend in each decade of life and I thoroughly agree! Barbara has been a friend and mentor to me for the past four years. We met in Los Angeles, when I approached her as one of the only older women I spotted at our church and asked if she might know a woman who would mentor me. I had just moved to LA from the east coast and had no family and friends in town. I was a young mom with an 18-month-old and expecting my second child. I figured someone like Barbara would already be too busy but that she might know someone else. To my shock and delight she offered to mentor me herself and came to my house every other week while my children napped to study the Bible, pray and chat. To say I felt honored doesn't even begin to express it.

Seated on a bench along the riverwalk
Seated on a bench along the riverwalk

And it's not just Barbara who is a very important person to my family. Shortly after Barbara began meeting with me, her husband, Dave, invited my husband, Zane, to a small men's discipleship group. In the world we live in today, it's a treasure for men to have deep, meaningful relationships that spur them on to love God and their families more. When Zane and I were doing premarital counseling we heard a fact that sobered us greatly - by age 35, most American men have no close friends outside of family and coworkers. Dave reaching out to my husband was one of the greatest gifts he could give me.

Portrait of Dave by the Sculpture
Portrait of Dave by the Sculpture

Fast forward a year and we sadly bid farewell to our friends and mentors as they "retired" and moved from LA to Chattanooga, TN to be near family. We were thankful that Zane's family lives in Chattanooga so we could at least regularly see them but missed their nearness.

The Couple by the sculture
The Couple by the sculture
Black and white of the couple seated
Black and white of the couple seated

Little did we know that just one year later, we would follow them back to Chattanooga and pick up right where we left off. Barbara and I continue to meet and together are leading a intergenerational fellowship and mentoring ministry for the women at our church. And Dave once again is leading a small group of guys including Zane that meets early Friday mornings to study the Bible and pray and encourage each other.

Golden backlight on the couple in front of the sculpture
Golden backlight on the couple in front of the sculpture

Dave and Barbara are a blessing to many people around the world. We are just one small family whose lives they have touched. They have mentored and counseled many individuals and couples. They have openly shared their pain and their struggles and led many a marriage seminar and counseled many couples in crisis.

Black and White Couple Close Up by the Sculture
Black and White Couple Close Up by the Sculture

As they walked toward me, Barbara explained that over their 46 years of marriage, they had mastered the art of walking hand in hand and found the most perfect and comfortable technique, modeled below. I think it's a metaphor for marriage. They have mastered the art of a good marriage and joyfully share all they have learned with anyone who wishes to listen.

Walking along the Riverwalk holding hands
Walking along the Riverwalk holding hands

They are truly beautiful inside and out and love and enjoy each other deeply. And they still call each other "Lovie."

Kiss in front of the sculpture
Kiss in front of the sculpture
Black and White Close up of hands
Black and White Close up of hands

Thank you Dave and Barbara for all you are and all you do. And Happy Birthday, Dave!

Technial Notes: I shot a combination of digital and film pictures for this session and ended up choosing mostly film images to post because they are just so lovely. The film shots were on a Pentax 645N using Fuji Pro400H film, developed and scanned by The FIND lab. The digitals were edited to match using Mastin film presets for the same film stock.