Love Story Contest Winners Announced | Southern Photographer | T2 Photography


We have had such a wonderful time reading the love stories that you shared with us.  You submitted stories from all walks of life.  We read stories about new love, love rekindled and time-tested love.  The only problem with all of them being so wonderful, is that we’ve had a difficult time selecting the winner of the T2 Styled Shoot.

With that being said, there are two stories that we simply could not decide between. So we’ve chosen a grand prize winner and a runner-up. The runner-up will receive a style shoot with all images on a DVD instead of an iPod. (We will be in touch with the winners with more details and to plan their sessions.)

And the winners are…

Dennis Gilliam and Debbie Cobb (Grand Prize Winners)


Tomorrow, we’ll share Debbie and Dennis’ story, and the very special way we received it.

Phil and Brenda Bishop (Runner-Up)

Tonight, we are going to share Phil and Brenda Bishop’s story. We had the pleasure of photographing their daughter’s wedding in October, and we were thrilled when they shared this beautiful story with us. We could not get past how well this story was written. It was honest and real, while still being tender and almost poetic. Before I finished reading it, my cheeks were damp with tears. This is the kind of love that I hope Thomas and I share after being married for so many years.

Half a million miles
Phil Bishop

Half a million miles traveled.  Forty thousand eight hundred meals shared.  Seven thousand three hundred diapers changed.  Six homes remodeled.  Five children.  Two grandchildren.  One wife.

Love stories are about romance.  Sure we’ve had some of that.  Love stories are about unrequited longing.  We’re probably a bit shy in that department.

Real love isn’t the thing of stories.  Real love is really not all that glamorous.  Real love is miles, and meals and diapers and home, and kids.  Real love takes sweat and blood, and self-denial and commitment.

I was doing a good deed in taking my mom to the doctor.  God rewarded my deed with the sight of a 16 year old, precociously reading a  “Seventeen” magazine.

“I don’t believe I know you.” Was my pickup line.  It worked great.  Only three tries later she agreed to go out with me.  “Ben Hur” was the movie.  But, I don’t remember a thing about the movie, for I was smitten.

The Naval Academy doesn’t permit marriage, so 12 days after graduation, late on a Monday, Brenda said, “I do”.  And she really meant it.  In sickness, and in sadness, she accepted me.  Three months later I left on a Navy ship bound for Bahrain.  For six and a half months we enjoyed no SKYPE (it was 1973!), no email, no telephone.  We wrote, and wrote and wrote.  But our love endured, and even deepened.

Five years later came our daughter, Kelly, then another five years and Daniel came along.  He had persistent fetal circulation and was rushed from Athens, GA, where he was born, to Atlanta. I borrowed a car (didn’t have one that could drive 70 miles), left my grieving wife for a week for neonatal intensive care.  But our love endured, and even deepened.

Then there was graduate school.  We shared a total income of $6000 per year.  But our love endured, and even deepened.

Finally I graduated and got a real job.  We had three more children.  We packed up five kids each summer for research in San Antonio TX, Houston  TX, and Fredrick, MD.  We moved to Houston for sabbatical, then to West Point, NY.

We shared to loss of each of our parents in turn.  We grieved. We struggled. But our love endured, and even deepened.

Now we are at the peak of our flight together.  All the children are grown and moved out on their own.  We are not so much parents as we are coaches.  As eternal parents, we still share frustrations and triumphs, sadnesses and celebrations.  But our love endures, and even deepens.

So here we find ourselves.  We began as just the two of us.  We grew to seven.  Now we are back to two.  Life has never been better.  God has rewarded us immensely.  He has blessed us with material things, with opportunities, with the essence of life itself.

Half a million miles traveled.  Forty thousand eight hundred meals shared.  Seven thousand three hundred diapers changed.  Six homes remodeled.  Five children.  Two grandchildren.  One wife.

Our love has endured, and even deepened.

Thanks be to God.


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  • Kristen SteeleMarch 14, 2010 - 10:23 pm

    Oh wow. I am crying reading this story… that is the kind of love I hope David and I share… so honest, realistic and deeply committed. I can’t wait to read the winners story!!ReplyCancel

  • MelissaMarch 14, 2010 - 11:22 pm

    Wow. That was a great story, and can’t believe they only got runner up! It’s great because it is real. I can’t wait to see who topped this with their story!!!ReplyCancel

  • Thomas BoutwellMarch 15, 2010 - 11:03 pm

    OK, Sarah and I have both come down with the flu or something so the second post to this has not happened yet ( sorry ) and I still have not even gotten in touch with the winners yet ( sorry for that too ). Thanks for your patience! I promise we’ll post the second story soon. We can’t wait to meet the winners!ReplyCancel

  • Rhonda TalmadgeMarch 16, 2010 - 3:49 pm

    Love this story and love these people…now part of my family as my son’s “other parents”. Sweet, sweet story that gave me chill bumps. : )ReplyCancel

  • Mary BethMarch 16, 2010 - 4:09 pm

    Whoo hoo! Awesome.ReplyCancel

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