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August 2018

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Thinking of you and your family & sending prayers Karen.

Kelly C

What an awesome and creative gift to Josh. Thinking of you and your family..I can't even imagine what you are all going through. I hope you are finding some peace in your time away from everything. Prayers and positive energy sent to you all. Thank you and your family for all your sacrifices for the country.


Thanks to Josh Downs for his service and thanks to his family for the sacrifices that you are making to allow him to serve. I am an Army brat with a Dad who served a year in Korea, so I understand a bit of the sacrifice the family makes. Your family will be in my prayers. I loved the pictures you sent with him--I'm sure he will cherish those faces from home.


May God bless Josh and your entire family. Thank you to him and your entire family for his service to our country. We will lift your family up in prayer each and every day.


keeping him and your family in my thoughts and prayers! Stay Strong :)
FYI - love the pics!!!


The Angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him. Psalms 34:7
(Really makes me feel better to hear my children say that out loud.)

God has Josh Downs' back, Nellie....and yours....:)


Oh my goodness Karen...I'm crying and can't see my computer screen!! I know how hard it is with Jeff gone just during the week! At least I can see him on the weekends! PLEASE know that Josh, you and the kids will be in my prayers DAILY!! Thank you Josh Downs for making this sacrifice for our beautiful country and for keeping us safe. May God Bless you and keep you safe!

Megan Barnes

God bless Josh Downs! (and your little family)

Jennifer Berry

Praying for your safe return. Thankful for your dedication to our freedom. Prayers all the way around.


Karen I broke into tears. May God watch over you & the kiddos and may He keep a special eye out on Josh Downs. Praying for a safe (and fast) return. God Bless. (is it strange for a past student to say 'love you' even though we're complete strangers but I feel like we're friends since I've followed you for years!??!) ;) Keeping everyone in my prayers. xo


What a hero. My best to all of you and I'll keep your whole little family in my prayers.

Yvonne C

Thank you Josh Downs for serving our country! There is no way to fully express our gratitude to all our service men and women and their families. We will definitely keep your family in our prayers! God Bless.

Stacey Staceyface1 Clinton

Thank you, Josh Downs for your sacrifices. Thank you, Karen Russell, for keeping it real. You are in my thoughts and hoping that you have plenty of people around you so you don't feel so "Broken". Sending hugs from wicked awesome Boston! :)


You can do this Karen. Take each day as it comes. Don't immerse yourself in the news. It will drive you crazy. Write to him like he's standing outside your window.... let him know every every-day-detail, he'll feel like he's home when he reads your letters. And don't read every military foward email that you'll begin to get from every well-meaning person, you won't have enough tears to cover them all, and they will make you cry more than you think. When you feel like you need to cry, shut the door and cry. It's ok. The more you hold it in, the harder it will be. Let your children know that you miss him, and that it's ok to be sad and cry sometimes. Cry together. Our son returned from Afghanistan in February, and is headed back again in January, he's Ross's age. I can't imagine it being my husband; it was hard enough with my first born. You can do this.


TEARS and (((((HUGS)))).....


Praying for you all! Such a sacrifice.


Dear karen, I had no idea...and reading this was so emotional for me...I cannot imagine how you are feeling. Your family and of course, josh will be in my prayers, always. Thinking of you and lifting all of you in love and prayer.


Sad news. Great pictures! Will have your family in my prayers!


I will be praying for Josh and your entire family. I am grateful for his service and his sacrifice...thank you, thank you, thank you!!!


You and your family are in my prayers


God bless all of you! What a sacrifice! Thank you Josh Downs for protecting our freedoms.


Wow. I thought I was a really loyal reader, but I feel crummy that I missed this detail. I'll be keeping you and Josh Downs and those fantastic kids of yours in my thoughts. We'll always be here to keep you company, and if you need to whine, I'm your girl.


God Bless you and your family! I don't even know you and I'm crying. Hang in there! I'm sure he'll be home real soon!


When you had alluded to a tough year, it never entered into my mind that it could be deployment. How long will he be there? You will get through it, we all do- as parents or as spouses, it stays right there with you every second, but you will get through it. And all these prayers mentioned above will be there with you, too. Don't forget to plan your Skypes. Love you all-


I couldn't read your entry and not post a comment. Josh, you, and the kids will be in my prayers.

Sara Mangan

Oh, Karen, I read your post and cried. My brother has been deployed twice and it was hard.
I can only imagine how hard it is for all of you and for him. You are all in my prayers. Thank you Josh Downs for your service. Military personal and their families give up so much for us.


Thinking of you all. Loved the pics, they made me tear up, I can only imagine what they did to Josh!

Charlotte Herr

From one military wife to another, we got your back Karen, you can do this. I've been reading your blog for three years now, and seeing your family memories take place as I wait to resume mine has made this last go quicker. I'm on the tail end of this deployment, hubby will be home soon. But with your faith and family, you have an unshakable strength inside you. Let me know if there's anything I can do for you.

R. Goldhammer

Your family is an inspiration for all. The love you all share shines through. I will keep your family in our prayers and I pray that Josh is safe and returns home quickly. I took your class last year at Whim So Doodle and loved it!

Sandy B

Thinking of you and thanking all of you for this sacrifice. Praying that your love for one another will bring you all back together safely.


oh... :-( <3


hugs and prayers for josh downs and your whole family - while he's away and until he comes home safely (and then some).


God bless Josh and may he come home safely soon.


Karen, Thoughts and prayers headed out to all of you. Can't even express my heartfelt Thanks enough for sharing your husband to keep all of us safe. Hope he is home soon. Take care and hug those kiddos!


A very sweet and loving thing to do. You will be in my thoughts.


I'm in tears. Many prayers for the safety of Josh Downs and for your family while he's away. He will be in my prayers until you tell us that he has returned safely home to you. I'm very thankful for his sacrifice and for the sacrifice that all of you are making during this deployment. Thank you for sharing. The photos are absolutely gorgeous.

Mary Ann

I'll be praying for all of you, especially Josh Downs.
Love the photos :)


Beautiful photos and I know he will really really really miss you guys more than you miss him. Beautiful words and I'm sure it will help him everytime he sees those pictures. Hang in there. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia


{{{hugs}}} to you and your family and unending gratitude to Josh and all those who protect and sacrifice.

Michelle Last

Thinking of you all and a sending a prayer for the troops safe return xx

Sandra A

Thank you Josh Downs, for your service to our country. Karen and kids, there are many in prayer for all of you. God is good.


Thank you and your family for your sacrifices. You are all in my prayers.


thought and prayers for your entire family!!!


Thank you and your family for your sacrifice! God Bless you all and may Josh Downs return safe and sound.

Becky (aka: beckywedd)

Josh -- thank you for your service! Karen - god bless you, Josh, Ross, Coley, Courtney and Annie during this time. Sending good thoughts and best wishes.

Becky (aka: beckywedd)

Julie in Aust.

Oh Wow....what absolutely precious photos...will be thinking of you all often Karen...chin up...time will pass quickly and Thank God we have the internet eh!

Heather L

Note to self: Do not read Karen's blog at work. I'm in tears. Be safe and come home soon!


Thinking of you and sending lots of love and prayers! Your blog is one of my all time favorites!


Those photos are genius, and you look stunning. They will undoubtedly be well-loved while Josh is away. I can't imagine how much you all must be missing him. I know that you will handle this with the same grace with which you handle everything else, and I'm thankful that you have so much family around to support you. You, Josh and the kids will be in my prayers.


Oh goodness ... I will keep all of you in my prayers, Karen. My heart aches for you and your family, but know that God will guide you through this difficult time.


Oh, Karen! I'm crying for you and your family. You and Josh and the kids will be in my thoughts. Keep taking pictures for Josh Downs!

julie okada

Such amazing, lovely photos. I'll be thinking of you and your family, praying for a quick and safe return for Josh. My family thanks Josh for his service to our Country. We thank your family for all your sacrifices. Take Care.

 ♥ Debbie

Oh Karen, I'm so sorry this day has come! I love your photos and know they will be held close to his heart! My son is on his Third year long deployment. The separation from family is so hard but I appreciate the sacrifices he's made and have the same gratitude for Josh Downs and others serving our country. Many Thanks! Many Prayers! Love to you all.......


Saying a prayer for your family.


Beautiful pictures. He will cherish them so much! I'm thinking of you... and your kids... and Mr. Josh Downs. And now I NEED that chalkboard.

Terri Emmons

I am a follower of your blog I have not posted or written before. I am so thankful for people like Josh that take the time to protect us all and keep us safe. My nephew was one of the Oregon National Guard that went over. He is now home safe and sound. I know the worry and stress when they are gone. I hope and pray for his safe return. I also hope you will keep us updated here while he is gone. Your blog is GREAT and really makes my day when I come here and read it and see all the WONDERFUL pictures and your post. Be strong.. Terri E Ventura Ca

Rachel Z

God bless Josh and your entire family. I tear up just thinking about what military families go through and the sacrifices made. Puts things into persepctive for me when I get "annoyed" when my husaband has to work and hour of overtime. God bless you all!

tara pollard pakosta

praying he comes home safely.
much love to all of you.
I know what a GREAT Dad he is and he will be missed so very much!


Praying for your family & Josh's safe return.

Melyssa Leighty

From my family to yours...THANK YOU!!! for your service to our country!


Wow, thank you for your service Josh Downs. Karen thoughts and prayers to you and your wonderful family. Typing through tears, may he be home soon.


Many prayers and lots of gratitude being sent your way from our little town in Utah. We used to live in CP and then Ashland---I only discovered your blog after I'd left, and I've learned so much---well, really everything I know about photography, right here on this site, even before you started teaching a class.

I don't read blogs as much anymore, but still stop by here to see the beautiful images, always love the way your dress your kids, and just love your voice and honesty about this precious job of raising a family.

I am so grateful that men and women like your husband are willing to serve our country---and others. May we all be worthy of the time and sacrifice your whole family is giving.


Thank you very much Karen Russell as I now have a giant lump in my throat.


You and your husband will never know how thankful I am for what he is doing. I will keep you all in my prayers. My heart breaks knowing my nephew will be leaving for there in January.


The pictures brought a tear to my eye. Keeping you all in my prayers. Be safe, Josh!


Sweetest surprise ever... my eyes are filled with tears. I pray for his safe return. Josh Downs, thank you for your service. ♥


Oh Karen, I had no idea he was deploying. I will hold your family in prayer. I just respect military men and women and their families so much so thank you and thank Josh for his service!

Lisa B.

Praying for your family Karen. May God continue to watch over you all.


Before His throne, pressing in....For strength, peace, protection, wisdom to handle life while he's gone, closeness with the kidos and answered prayers. You are loved!


Praying for all of you. Grateful for his service and your family's sacrifice.

Ann S

Hugs to you all and I'll be thinking of you and praying for you all in the days to come. I hope the days fly by and you will be happily reunited soon. My heart and thanks go out to all those serving our country and their families. ((((Hugs))))


so precious to send those photos and keep the faith. OUR God is a mighty God and will watch over all of you. I'll keep you all in my prayers. YOu are all sacrificing so much - and let's hope these soldiers will alll be able to return soon to their families and end this junk in other countries! blessings


What a wonderful idea! I am sure he loved it. Praying for Josh Downs safe return!


How incredibly sweet - what wonderful photos. Praying for all of you.

Nicky from Canada

God Bless you all


Thank you for your sacrifice! Praying for a quick and safe return.

jennifer Camplin

(tears) be safe, man..

Love your family.

Prayers are with your family!!

teresa b

okay I'm crying again..great pictures!! Thankful for Josh's service!! Prayers for a safe and speedy return!! BIG hugs Karen!!


Karen & Josh Downs....May God be with you all during this time. May it pass quickly and may he return safely. Thanks so much for your sacrifice!! Now I'm crying too!! Hugs those little ones extra tight.

Design Editor

So touched by this. Lovely. Wishing you all the best!


Godspeed Josh Downs.


oh karen! i am such a fan of your blog (and you in general!). i hadn't been to the blog in a few weeks and was surprised to see the news about josh downs heading to afghanistan. these pictures brought tears to my eyes! your family seems so wonderful and i know that you're all crazy and imperfect in your own way (we all are). i am bracing myself for my boyfriend to move to denver from minneapolis for the year (an internship for seminary) and your blog has kicked my butt once more. it's all about perspective-- but distance is never easy. you're blessed to have a wonderful support system-- praying for you guys! peace & love.


this brought tears to my eyes! I'm so sorry. for you and your adorbable babies!


thinking of you and your family. what an awesome (and so sweet) idea. i'm sure he adores you all too. stay strong.


ok, so I'm crying!! I can't even imagine what that is like, those pictures are so sweet though. I pray he'll be kept safe and the time will pass quickly till you are all re-united


I don't know you, but I am choked up and crying for you and your family this morning. Beautiful pictures. "Val" is a good friend of mine and she linked to your blog on her site, so that's how I found my way here. I've been through deployments when our daughters were young and the memories are so vivid. My husband made it home safely from each one and I feel grateful for that every day. Thank you for what you do and keep strong. Hugs from a former military wife.


I don't know if this is the first time you've stated why this has been such a tough year. But I've been so worried for you, thinking of you, wishing you peace. But this news brought me to tears, and I just want you to know that I am holding you and your family in my heart.


Karen, being a military wife at one time myself.....I have never been in your shoes. I'd only been support for my friends when their husbands had left on their deployments. Your pictures made me tear up. I pray for your family and for Josh's safe return. Thank you Josh for your commitment to our freedom.

Lisa Dale

Forever in my prayers.

Rachael C

You will all be in my thoughts and prayers during this hard time. Praying for a safe return.


Oh wow....thinking of you guys!!


Just read this right after I got done video chatting with my husband who is also deployed. It's hard but you and your family will blessed for your sacrifice. The days are long but the months fly by, promise. You guys will be in my prayers. :)

Catina Leonard

SO thankful to Josh and your family for the sacrifices you all make for me and my family!!! I know those pictures will get him through this time away. They are SO GOOD (and I am so jealous that you look SO GOOD) :) We will keep you all in our prayers!!!


Karen, much love and prayers to you and your family and extra prayers to keep Josh Downs safe during his deployment. You are a tough cookie (even if you did cry in the hotel lobby) - you wouldn't be where you are if you weren't!


Elizabeth C.

I took your class while my husband was deployed last year, and it was such a source of encouragement. I will be praying for your family and for Josh's safety. Stay busy with the kiddos, and the time will pass a little faster (at least it did for me).


We will keep Josh and your whole family in our prayers until we hear the news of his safe return. Thank you so much for your service and sacrifice. We are grateful! Godspeed Josh Downs!


Return safe and sound Josh Downs. How hard this must be for you and your family. You are all amazing in my book! Praying...


Thank you for sharing your family's personal joys and difficulties with your extended "blogging family." Our thoughts and prayers will be with you all as you face this new challenge. Wishing you strength and perseverence, love and hugs.


Thank you Josh Downs for the sacrifice you are willing to make for the USA. Karen & crew, thank you for your sacrifice of giving up a husband and father so he can protect me & my family. We ♥ you!


New to your blog but want to thank you all for your sacrifice. We are blessed by families like you. PRaying for all of you!

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