• Katrina Gotschall is a portrait photographer serving newborns, children, teens, families, and couples in Central and North Central Nebraska and lower South Dakota counties and communities including Broken Bow, NE; Burwell, NE; Atkinson, NE; Stuart, NE; O'Neill, NE; Norfolk, NE; Taylor, NE; Sargent, NE; Spencer, NE; Butte, NE; Springview, NE; Ainsworth, NE; Neligh, NE.

    katrina@katrinaleephotography.com l (402)340-0397 l Atkinson, NE

Oh, I might have shed a few tears over this session.  Karissa, you see, was one of my beautiful flower girls in my wedding 12 years ago.  I can’t hardly believe how fast the time has gone, but she has grown into a gorgeous young lady with a promising future.  She and her mom drove all the way from Lincoln, Ne to meet me at the family ranch in central Custer County.  As kids, Kristin, her mom, and Justin, her uncle, would come visit us in the summers and on holidays with my Aunt Sue.  They were more like our siblings than our cousins, those memories are some of the most precious memories I have.  So, it was only fitting that we used that setting to create some images reflective of the deep roots of our family tree.  I am so happy I was able to do this session for her, and I can’t wait to see what she does next!

Senior Class of 2015

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It started many, many years ago when he sent her an “I lick you” love note.  Over the years, they became friends, then started dating, got engaged, and finally, they have gotten married!  It was nearly 2 years ago that they got engaged, and I still have the email I received from Jamie, asking me if I would be their wedding photographer.  I was so honored.  You see, I was also their teacher when they were just 11th graders at O’Neill High School.  It was one of my greatest pleasures to be asked to also be their wedding photographer.  The day could not have gone more perfectly, and my assistant shooter and I were able to capture their beautiful event.  Congratulations Jamie and Dillon!  I am so thrilled for the both of you and your wonderful families!





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  • October 14, 2014 - 1:34 pm

    Cathy Coble - What a great wedding, what fabulous pics for your memories!ReplyCancel

Congrats to Brandi for sharing your beautiful story of kindness!  I will be contacting you within 48 hours to chat about the details!  Thank you for sharing with us!

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  • March 24, 2014 - 3:03 am

    Brandi Ries Mitchell - Oh Katrina! I am so excited for their family! I am more than happy to talk with you regarding this, but you may want to contact Lisa Alder to set something up. Her cell number is 402-340-5832. Her home phone number is 402-925-2436. (She may be confused as to why you are calling……I didn’t tell her that I nominated their family for this due to their amazing kindness!) After the shock wears off she will be so excited! I know that I am! You made my entire week. Thank you so much! ReplyCancel


One never knows
How far a word of kindness goes;
One never sees
How far a smile of friendship flees.
Down, through the years,
The deed forgotten reappears.
One kindly word
The souls of many here has stirred.
Man goes his way
And tells with every passing day,
Until life’s end:
“Once unto me he played the friend.”
We cannot say
What lips are praising us to-day.
We cannot tell
Whose prayers ask God to guard us well.
But kindness lives
Beyond the memory of him who gives.

© Edgar Albert Guest


You really never know when someone is going to step into your life and bless it.  Sometimes, you don’t even know that they blessed it until later on, really.  Sometimes, it may not seem like a blessing at first, but rather a thorn, but later, you realize it was.  Sometimes even, as Laura Story says, blessings come through raindrops.

Today someone did something nice for me, and though I have an idea of who it was, I don’t know for sure, and I assume they prefer to keep it that way, or they would have told me.  I am so humbled by the kindness of this gesture, as it seemingly came from nowhere, but the note simply said “thank you for the work you do.  I hope this helps with your summer learning experience.”

After my eyes stopped watering, I sat down, overwhelmed.  Then, on the way home, I started thinking about how I could do something to keep this kindness moving in the universe.

So, the weather is warming, new life is arriving, and hopefully that means that spring will be springing!

I am offering a 20 minute spring mini session and a complimentary 11×14 print to one lucky commenter.  All you have to do is share a story about a time when someone did something nice for you and express your thanks.  If you want to mention the person specifically, feel free, but also feel free to be less specific.  I am going to leave commenting open until 9:00PM Saturday night, and Sunday, I will announce the winner of the Pay It Forward right here on my blog.


PS- Make this post extra special by mentioning something you will do to Pay It Forward too! Let’s keep the goodness going!

Fine Print:  This PIF has no cash value. It is not redeemable for cash and is not transferable.  The winner must book and complete their session by May 1.  This may be a family session with IMMEDIATE family only, a couple, a senior, or children.  If it is a child, the child must be able to sit unassisted. The winner will receive a 20 minute session with a complimentary 11×14, and may choose to purchase additional products, but is not required to do so.  The session will take place in the Atkinson, Ne vicinity.

And because it feels weird to blog without including a picture, sweet person, if you are out there reading this, your kindness made me feel like I was on top of the world today.  Thank you.

On Top Of The World


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  • March 21, 2014 - 4:24 am

    Brandi Ries Mitchell - How do I log in? I tried to post for the blog, and it lost my entire post. It said that I need to log in to comment. Thank you!

  • March 22, 2014 - 3:39 am

    Brandi Ries Mitchell - Good Evening Katrina. I was so excited to see that you were doing a promotion for paying-it-forward! I have the perfect candidate for your pay-it-forward giveaway. I feel so blessed to have her in my life; it is my sister, Lisa Alder.

    My sister Lisa is one of the most unselfish and loving people that you could ever meet. She is nonjudgmental, loving, and truly the best friend that anyone could ever ask for. Lisa and her family have endured a lot of pain and hardships this past year. Her husband, Shawn, was diagnosed with spinal cancer last summer. Lisa remained strong and trudged forward in the happiest way that she could for her children and husband, so that their lives would remain structured and as normal as possible. She went with her husband to every radiation appointment for 6 weeks in a row, took her children to school every day, maintained all of her household duties, helped her children with their school work, and kept everyone’s spirits high during their treatment.

    I tried to help Lisa out as much as possible during Shawn’s radiation treatments, spinal surgery to remove cancerous tumors, and during his healing time. I tried to be her shoulder to cry on and ear to listen when she needed someone to talk to, but in retrospect she was who kept me strong when the family I loved so much was hurting. I picked up her youngest daughter from school 3 times a week and loved her until her mommy and daddy could get her.

    During this period, we found out that our basement had mold and we had to gut our entire basement. We called Shawn and Lisa to rent their construction trailer so that we could get it cleaned up. When the trailer was filled, we called them to come and pick it up to take to the transfer station. We waited for a bill. It never came. One night, we went to Shawn and Lisa’s for supper. They handed me a paper that stated PAID! It was the bill for the trailer rental and dump fees, totaling over $600. They paid all of the charges for us, since we had helped them out so much during all of Shawn’s treatments and surgery. This was so very unexpected to us, yet greatly appreciated. I never expected or wanted to be paid for anything that I did for their family. I love them and know that they would have done the exact same thing for me in my time of need. It is hard to fathom how someone in their lowest point of life, can still only think of everyone else. You must understand that Shawn had been out of a job for months due to his cancer treatments, surgery, and rehab after surgery. Lisa is a SAHM and spent every minute of her day taking care of her kids and husband during this time. Although she worked more hours than someone with a job, her job didn’t pay her. This is the type of person that Lisa is…………..and I feel so blessed to have her as my sister and best friend!

    I feel that Lisa and her family would be the perfect candidates for this giveaway. They have never had professional family pictures taken, and this could signify their new cancer free start, good health, and just how truly blessed they really are!
    Thank You!

    • March 22, 2014 - 10:15 pm

      admin - Oh wow, Brandi, THANK YOU for sharing this story! What an amazing testimony of love and kindness. Wow. <3ReplyCancel

I was so happy receive an email from Heather, a fellow Broken Bow High School alumni, whom I haven’t seen in YEARS.  She and her husband are fellow teachers and have had a special journey to parenthood. I am so honored that they came all the way to Atkinson from Nebraska City to have their new family photos done.  In just a month, they will be welcoming their new little boy or girl into this world, and I am so happy that I will get to document their precious bundle’s first year of milestones!  Here is just a peek of their session, Heather is just absolutely beautiful.  In our communication, she said her pregnancy had been outstanding and that she had never felt more beautiful.  I’m so glad I could celebrate this special time with them!  Can’t wait to meet your new little one!

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