Among the Ashes…..


The first day of Kindergarten is when I first met my dear friend Sumer.  I remember her mom sitting this pretty blonde beside me and saying, “You girls are going to best friends.”  That was that, and we were…..we played at school together and after school and had sleep over’s whenever we could.  We even celebrated our September birthdays together growing up and her grandma would make us matching dresses with bloomers so we could flip on the monkey bars.


Ironically she now lives right down the street from me with her adorable family and we Still get to see each other – although never as often as we’d like.


A little history to this project is that several years ago when a tornado came through the South Rock Creek area their new house they’d just built was one that was hit and destroyed, but according to insurance still salvageable, so they gathered up what they could and started again in the same place.

Photography 268

Then, about a month ago this same house was involved in a fire that was started from lightening that came with severe storms but this time destroyed it beyond repair.

Photography 369

After seeing them sift through the ashes and recover what they could it was time to tear it down and start yet again on rebuilding their home and lives.  When Sumer called me with the idea of taking some final photos of their home before it had to be torn down I was more than eager to help in any way I could.


I love Sumer for her heart and her vision.  I love how her resilience has been passed down to her children and how she stays positive about challenge that comes her way.  I wanted to do this project justice and to see what she saw.  Past the soot, smoke and ashes to the emotions of what the house meant to them all.  I wanted to capture the place where they all loved and laughed, and now a place where they will build a new house with new memories to fill it.




So the ever eager hosts, Miss J and Mr. B, gave me a grand tour of what was left of their home.  They melted my heart just like the paint on the walls when they would enthusiastically pick up a small treasure they would come across saying, “Look, Jesus saved it mom.”


These two have quite the personalities and I LOVED seeing bits of my friend in each one of them!



“Mom, I “Mustache” you a question.”  HA!!



To make sure I did this justice I called upon some of my photography friends to pick their brains on this project and get some different perspective and was taken aback when several of them said they wouldn’t take this project on.


They told me they worried it would come off scary or morbid and maybe too “Children of the Corn.”  What?!?!   I never thought about this project in that light.  I knew that we were onto something here and although Sumer and I are friends because we both think outside of the box I didn’t think we were too out there with this.


So I strapped on my big girl camera and I did it anyways and I have never been more proud of a project in my life.  I am proud to be friends with this family and I am feel blessed to get to be a part of “their living art project.” 

Photography 538

I feel even more touched by what I learned that day.  I learned just like their children that things are just things and that in the end……all we need is LOVE to make a house a home.  They have ALL of that they need – because they have each other!

Photography 492




Thank you for letting me be a part of your journey, thank you for teaching me what resilience really is, thank you for teaching me about faith and family……but more important finding what’s MOST important when you sift through the ashes.

Sparkle and Spur,

Dustie Bill

“All you need is love, Love is all you need.”


About dustiebill

Born, raised and still trying to live life as an Oklahoma cowgirl. I have a travel loving soul and I LOVE photography. My blog has started out as a place for me to post my 365 photo-a-day challenge....I have now found a love for fine art. Specifically Horse or Western Inspired Photography. I love my husband, kids, DIY projects, horses, wine, lightening, post-it notes, colored sharpie markers, trolling garage sales, baseball, cooking, shopping, working outside in the garden and living a simple country life. If you own a piece of our work you own more than just a piece of art. Thank you for supporting cowgirls. Sparkle and Spur Dustie Bill
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Among the Ashes…..

  1. Kim Smith says:

    Dustie!! This is remarkable. I am speechless.

  2. Thank you for sharing. That was beautiful … 🙂

  3. First of all I would like to applaud you for not being detoured from this project. And what an amazing job. You were able to capture the loss and sadness. You also captured the love and connection Sumer and Brian have with each other, the kids, and their home. They are such a wonderful giving family. I’m glad you girls were able to create such a neat project.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s