I wanted to share a picture of me my husband took of my scars with you guys. Not many of you know my story or have seen my scars because I often hide both of them. I wish I could tell you when they first told me I had a heart condition (hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy) that I was poised and calm. I wish I could tell you guys that with each scar I braved the surgeon’s hand and went under with faith and tenacity. I wish I could say that the night before I had open heart, I was calm, cool, and collected. I wish I could say that these scars don’t represent who I am and that they don’t cripple me. I wish I could say that I’m healthy and living each day to the fullest. But if I can be completely honest, each time I went under the knife I was scared to death. Each time I questioned the existence of a good God because why would He let me go through something like this. The night before I had open heart, I cried on my living room floor while my friends held me and prayed over me. Every day I wake up with pain on my chest from the scars that have built up extra scar tissue. Some days I want to lay in bed and do nothing because that’s what my body desires. I think this is why they call us heart warriors. We may feel all those things described above but we’re still here. Our hearts are still beating. Warriors are described as courageous and vigorous and through our experiences that’s what we become. We all have a story. We all have something tragic that has happened and we have had big beautiful moments to counteract the hard times. In the moments that I look into my sweet baby boy’s eyes, I remember the good God that held my hand through the surgeries despite my questions. In the moments my husband holds me, I remember the good God that never left my side. In the moments my family brings countless laughters, I remember the good God who brought joy to me in times I felt weakest. In the moments my mom encourages her little heart out to me, I remember the good God whose love is relentless. In the moments when I watch the sun rise above the horizon and pierce through the dark sky, I am reminded of a good God that promises joy in the morning. This is why I am a photographer. I capture the moments that God has let me live another day to see. I love watching families run around and act goofy. I love watching two people become one on their wedding day. I love holding newborn babies and imagining what they’re gonna be when they grow up. Capturing what the marching of time sweeps away too quickly is part of my calling. Thank you for reading my story. I would love to tell yours. Here’s how to apply to be part of The Brave Project.
Ever since I was a young girl, I have loved taking pictures. Something about reliving a moment that would never happen again is what stirred the constant need to have a disposable camera in my little glittery purse. When I was 15 I had a quinceanera, which is a celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday and her transition from childhood to adulthood, typically involving a service followed by a party. With all the birthday money I got, I bought my first point and shoot. That thing was with me 24/7. I loved taking pictures of nature. I loved finding God in the smallest of details. I would venture out to the woods and just take pictures of whatever I could and delighted in the presence of my God. It’s no coincidence to me that in the same year of my newfound passion with photography, I was diagnosed with hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy. I was devastated. That year was a whirlwind of doctor visits and realizing things that felt normal to me like a fast heart rate were actually signs of things getting worse. Soon after the whole family got checked, as it was hereditary. We found out my baby brother has the same condition. My camera slowly collected dust as the year went by and the joy that I had found in the little things soon grew distant in my mind. That same year, I had my first surgery (an ICD placement). Then, to top off the year, I got shocked by the ICD five times in a row. Safe to say, my little ol’ now 16-year-old self grew weary and depressed. I had lost the faith I once held so dearly to me. I questioned the existence of a good God but at the same time cried out to Him for the comfort and peace that He promised me.
One morning I picked up my camera and drove myself to the lake. I watched the sun rise and paint the morning sky with colors I’d never seen before. The fog lifted off the lake like a fairy tale. I watched the geese sit under the tree as the sun broke through the branches, forming the prettiest shadow and light contrast. I had found Him again. Slowly but surely I broke free from the chains of depression and found joy again.
Now that I’m a wife and mother, I find God’s masterpiece in Philip’s smile and Caeden’s eyes. I am reminded of God’s tangible love when I’m shooting an engagement session and see the ooey gooey eyes the couple have for one another. I am reminded of God’s unfailing promises when I am capturing a wedding and watch two hearts become one. When I am shooting a newborn session, I am thankful for new life and how God makes beautiful things out of us. I love celebrating with seniors at their accomplishments and future endeavors.
Now that I’m older, still surviving, and getting healthier, I find myself filled with compassion for those who are in the same boat that I was in – families that are in a situation that require bravery. I think not many people think about taking family portraits at time where they’re emotionally drained and financially strapped. Their main concern probably is their baby’s next breath or worrying about if their husband will be returning from war. It sounds disheartening but I know that some people are in that season of their life. I want to be able to help capture what the marching of time sweeps away too quickly.
That’s why I came up with the Brave Project.
I want to be able to provide families with a lifetime of memories by capturing them in their moments of bravery as a family. Whether it be the love between a soldier and their significant other, or the strength between siblings when one of them has none left, I want to be there and make their story known. I want to document their lives and remind them that their situation matters and that someone out there thinks they’re worth photographing.
We will be trying to do a family or two a month depending on our availability. You can contact us or be nominated by a friend. Please go to our contact page and fill out the form. Let us know it’s for the Brave Project. We would love to hear your/their story and how soon they need photographing. We will try to give everyone a chance but do know that some situations are more urgent than others, so please be patient with us. We will be documenting our experiences, so we’ll need you/them to sign a release. Since we are still a small company, we are only doing this for people in the north Georgia area. We are not collecting any money from these families.
Here’s a link to my story.