The Lavender Diaries: Breaking Ground

What can a dream become? Can it become a reality… and if so, how? A wise man once said “A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.” -Greg S. Reid

This plan/goal/dream became a reality when Tony and Denise put those steps into actions and “broke ground” on their new lavender farm, and I will have the pleasure of photo documenting this plan step by step as their dream literally blossoms.

Technically the farm is already in existence. Located in Little Orleans, Maryland, Tony has had possession of this quaint farm for 20+ years and it was Denise’s idea to bring the lavender to the farm.

With full support from Tony, he begins with tilling the very first row of many…


But Denise has no problem quickly getting in there and participating in the hard work!



Tony remains nearby to lend a helping hand during the process as the ground becomes broken up and vulnerable to the sowing about to take place.







And with a little team work, it isn’t long until one row is plowed and ready for seed.


Just look at that view with the mountains, the lavender is going to add an amazing foreground to it all!

The tiller has been just as hard at work as Tony and Denise…


Just like the first, Tony begins the second row…



While this time Denise literally gets her hands dirty by pulling the big lumps out of the way of the tiller.


“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.” -Alfred Austin


With their plan underway and the first step completed, the journey will continue with several more rows to be prepared over the next few days.

“We come from the earth. We return to the earth. And in between we garden”- Unknown


The adventure continues in the next episode of Lavender Diaries…

Tonya Bender


Kayla and Adam: A Country Wedding at the Historic Capitol Theatre

Kayla & Adam exchanged vows during an intimate wedding ceremony at the Historic Capitol Theatre located in downtown Chambersburg, PA October 21, 2017.


The downtown streets were bustling with people as the annual AppleFest was in full swing. The energy from the festival only added to the excitement and sentiment of the wedding festivities getting ready to take place.

Kayla along with the help of her family and friends created the elegant country theme of the wedding. From the shabby chic centerpieces to the raw natural wood elements along with all the charming details, the venue was transformed into a scene straight out of a romantic country magazine.

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The bride looked stunning with her wispy updo and elegant head piece…

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Kayla’s mom, Deb looking so proud as she helps her daughter with the finishing touches.


The elegant country theme carried through the attire of the bride and her bridesmaids, which included a lace covered wedding gown and cowboy boots to finish off the look.

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I absolutely loved the bouquets! They were handmade by the bride and really complimented the elegant touches of the style.

The adorable little flower girl is Kayla and Adam’s daughter, Leighton. Kayla expressed to me how important it was to not only include Leighton in the wedding, but for her to be able to really enjoy herself because “it is as much her day as it is ours”

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She certainly did enjoy herself and was so precious in her lace covered dress, looking just like mommy.

Kayla is very close with her mom and sister. They are all very supportive of one other, and were both very large contributors to all the wedding planning and arrangements.

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Kayla was a graceful and captivating model whose natural beauty radiated in each portrait I took of her.


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Next we met up with the guys…

Their style was a unique blend of casual and formal western wear. They paired jeans and camouflage with white dress shirts and vests. They accesorized with a stylish boutonniere featuring a rifle shell casing and of course cowboy hats and boots.

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Adams mom, Anne looked so proud as she made sure her boy was looking his best!

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These group of guys looked so awesome. They remind me of a gang of outlaws ready for a shindig!

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Adam was a natural in front of the lens, he looks as though he could be a model for Wrangler or Stetson.

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At the start of the ceremony Leighton randomly walked up and down the aisle. Although she was not much about following any program or schedule, she definitely added absolute cuteness and warmed hearts with her adorable antics. She always seemed to be doing the most precious things, and her timing… perfect.

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Here comes the bride…


As Ed walked his daughter down the aisle, Leighton appeared at the perfect moment to help finish their journey to the alter where daddy was waiting.


Adam looked as though he was full of emotion at this moment…

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Kayla’s Uncle Rich was the officiant, which added to the intimacy of the ceremony. He opened in prayer and followed with a traditional service which included the reading of vows, exchanging of rings, and a unity sand ceremony for three.



I am in love with this next picture of Leighton joining hands with her parents during the ceremony. It was not posed nor was it planned, it was that perfect life moment that happened to occur in front of my camera lens.




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An undisclosed first kiss to seal the deal….


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After the ceremony the guests mingled and enjoyed some cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while Leighton joins her meme and pap as we head outside for pictures.


The wedding party was ready to have some fun  as they cheered on the newlyweds!!

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And little Leighton was all smiles as she stopped for a quick shot in front of her mommy and daddy.


After a few pictures, the newly married couple rejoined their guests as they were introduced publicly for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. Hinkle!

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The very impressive cupcake stand was handmade by Kayla’s father, Ed, and held over 100 cupcakes and also included a top tier for the cake.


Additional reception decor included hand cut birch logs with tea light candles, camouflage wine glasses, and those elegant bridal bouquets.

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Dany got a little emotional while presenting her sentimental speech to her sister and brother in law.

Adam’s best friend Joe followed with a strong and sensitive speech which included some moments of humor. It was a special moment for Adam, having Joe travel all the way from Arizona to be his best man!

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Adam and Kayla’s mutual love of country music was showcased during their first dance as husband and wife. They held each other close while Adam sang verses of Florida Georgia Line’s song “Lifer” to his bride.

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During the father/daughter dance, Leighton “cut in” to join her mommy and pap.

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Adam and his mom were all smiles as he twirled her around the dance floor and she held on proudly to her “baby boy”.

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While the guests were finishing up with dinner, Kayla and Adam stepped away for some alone time as we took some pictures of the couple.








Some additional pictures with the maid of honor and best man…



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Get this party started…


I love both Kayla and Leighton’s reaction to Adam’s attempt of removing the garter.

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Bouquet and garter toss… I love how prepared Joe was for the toss, although he was not the lucky retriever.

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With the reception activities finished, guests begin to mingle, drink, and eat cake…

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And then there was dancing….

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And wow, could these people get down!!


A quick wardrobe change, and then… more dancing!


The dance floor got more and more crowded with each song. Family and friends celebrating together the joy and happiness of the day!

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Adam and his dad, Larry, were amazing as they stomped and slid across the dance floor in sync. I was mesmerized by their rhythm and unison. Although photographs do not do it any justice, I tried to capture the moves in camera.

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Congratulations Kayla, Adam, and Leighton!

May these images forever remind you of your special day together and may you have many more in the future.






I once again had the pleasure of documenting a magical time in this beautiful couple’s life. Capturing memories for them to look back on and share with their family and friends. An intimate maternity session done at the couple’s home just a week before little Eleanor’s arrival.





Congratulations Sam and Grant!!



Patrick’s Senior Pictures

I once again had the pleasure of working with a member of the Slocum family.  Remember that beautiful bride I photographed a few months ago… well her little brother is a senior at Shippensburg High School (Class of 2015!!).  Sheryl and I were delighted to do his senior portraits. Take a look at the handsome young man’s session; just another illustration of this remarkably beautiful family.






Sam & Grant: A Wedding in Cape May

Sam and Grant celebrated an intimate wedding ceremony on August 24, 2014. It took place at the historic Chalfonte Hotel in Cape May, NJ, a quaint setting which holds significant meaning to the couple. This was the very location in which they spent memorable summer vacations together as their love for one another continued to grow and eventually where the couple became engaged. Along with their closest family and friends, this beautiful couple continued the celebration of their love as they joined together in marriage at The Chalfonte Hotel!  IMG_1001 IMG_1002 IMG_1006_collage IMG_1007_collage IMG_1009 IMG_1010_collage IMG_1012 IMG_1014_collage IMG_1015 IMG_1017_collage IMG_1018 Friends and family gather to have their first look at the beautiful bride… IMG_1019_collage IMG_1021_collage IMG_1023 IMG_1024_collage IMG_1026 IMG_1027_collage IMG_1030_collage IMG_1032 IMG_1034_collage IMG_1035 IMG_1036_collage IMG_1038_collage IMG_1041 IMG_1042_collage IMG_1044 IMG_1045 IMG_1046_collage IMG_1048 IMG_1049 IMG_1050 IMG_1051_collage IMG_1053 Here comes the bride… IMG_1056_collage IMG_1058_collage IMG_1059_collage2 IMG_1061 IMG_1063_collage IMG_1065_collage IMG_1067_collage IMG_1068_collage Mr. and Mrs.!!! IMG_1070 IMG_1074_collage IMG_1075 IMG_1076 IMG_1079_collage IMG_1078 IMG_1080 IMG_1081_collage IMG_1085 IMG_1083 IMG_1084 IMG_1086 IMG_1087 IMG_1088 IMG_1089 IMG_1090 IMG_1091_edit The reception festivities started with a bouquet toss from the hotel balcony! IMG_1092 Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Vandebrake!! IMG_1093_edit IMG_1094 IMG_1095 IMG_1098_collage IMG_1099 IMG_1100


IMG_1103 IMG_1104 IMG_1105 IMG_1106 IMG_1110_collage IMG_1115_collage IMG_1111 IMG_1119_collage IMG_1120_crop IMG_1122_crop An emotional dance to honor the memory of special loved ones. IMG_1123 IMG_1124 The beautiful bride takes one last spin around the dance floor… IMG_1125 IMG_1126_bw_crop Congratulations Sam and Grant!! May there be many future memories of your love together at The Chalfonte Hotel!

Photo Art