Something You Definitely DO NOT know about me.
Who I am, Why I do what I do and Why it is so very Important for me to do it well.
I have been so fortunate lately to have the privilege of shooting so many Motherhood sessions like this one of the Coleman Family as they welcomed their precious new baby, in Miami, Florida. This beautiful momma is a cousin of ours and the daughter of one of my most treasured friends. It was such a joy to be welcomed, not only into their home; but into their most intimate moments together as a family. In many ways, shooting families with newborns is like watching couples fall in love all over again – with each other and with their precious newborn.
These motherhood sessions have taken me back to a time in my life that I cherish so much.
Preparing to have my first child, giving birth and welcoming that child home were life changing moments I will never forget. These moments and my experiences are at the heart beat of who I am as a woman, a wife, mother, grandmother and your photographer stem from those very intimate and precious moments.
Anticipating our first child, I desperately wanted to be prepared; from getting the nursery ready to knowing what labor and delivery were going to be like, I wanted to prepare down to the tiniest detail.
But just how does one prepare for something like birth? How do you know what to do to get ready for someone you’ve never met before and for something you’ve never done before. Even though women have been giving birth through the ages, everyone’s experience and advice are always so different.
I did not just want to be able to prepare the nursery. That was the easy part and I could check that off my list!! More than anything, I wanted to be able to prepare for all the unknowns. I wanted to be able to love and care for this new baby and so it seemed to me, I should start by preparing. I wanted to know everything and I did not want there to be any unknowns. The more I wanted to know, the more I realized so much of preparing for Motherhood is a waiting game. Honestly, it is very difficult to wait for something when you have really no idea what to expect and thus no idea how exactly to prepare.
At this point, I should give you some backstory details.
I was due in January. In November, I decided to breed my dog Schatzi (a Miniature Schnauzer), while my husband was out of town on a hunting trip. Unbeknownst to me, the gestation period for dogs is not quite the same for humans, not by a landslide! Guess how long it is? Maybe the rest of my story will answer that question.
My doctor scheduled me for an induction Thursday, January 20th, 1993. On Wednesday, the eve of my scheduled induction, Schatzi began to frantically run from room to room contorting her body in a way I had never before seen. She was unconsolable and could not be still, even for a moment. This went on for several hours.
She was laying on her back, rolling around panting and it seemed like she was even sweating, but what was that ripple down the front of her body? Oh No!! Those must be contractions!! She was in labor!! Well, I definitely was NOT prepared for that, nor did I even know I would have to be, since she was not due for 7 more months according to my misguided calculations.
One by one, I watched and did my best to assist as Schatzi gave birth to 5 of the tiniest little creatures I had ever seen. It was just the two of us at home. I made sure each puppy was able to breathe and Schatzi was a good momma cleaning each puppy up as she went along. It was the most amazing thing I ever witnessed. There were a few unexpected details, but I was able to call the Doctor for assistance and even with a couple difficulties everything seemed to go off without a hitch – almost as if it had been perfectly orchestrated all along.
I am probably the only woman in History who gleefully responded to her contractions with, “Oh my goodness!! This is just like Schatzi”!! The birth of Schatzi’s puppies had prepared me for my own delivery. It had calmed me (I don’t think I even realized how much so until afterward). When I began to have contractions, I knew exactly what was happening to me and that gave me so much comfort.
Immediately, my husband and I fell in love with this baby boy that was placed in our arms. Words do not adequately describe the emotions you go through as you meet your first child. Those moments were filled with love, joy, hope and a deeper connection to my husband and to our son. My husband shed tears of joy with me during those moments. Our family was growing and changing and there were new things on the horizon for us.
These are some of the happiest moments of my life.
Something even more amazing than the birth of our son was beginning to happen in our lives. We were just on the cusp of it. Days after we came home from the hospital, I was pondering all the events leading up to it, I said to my husband, “Isn’t it amazing how hard I tried to plan and prepare for every possible detail; yet, God had the most amazing plan and every single detail was attended to beyond all I could have dared to ask or even imagine”?
It wasn’t just that God had a plan for every detail of the birth of our firstborn son. It seemed that God wanted me to know that He knew me. He knew all my angst and fears all my longing to know and need for security. He seemed to know them down to the tiniest details AND he seemed to already have a plan in place.
That began to change me. Honestly, it is still changing me.
It was so wonderful spending those next few weeks watching our son grow and change. I wanted to capture every detail. I didn’t want to miss a thing. All along the way of becoming a mom and beginning to raise a child and later children, I also became aware that there was a God who knew me and wanted to make Himself known to me. I had always heard about God growing up, but I did not actually know Him.
Some people accept Christ as their Savior when they are young, some do it when they are older. It’s funny, my desire to love my family well and try to be a ‘good’ wife and mom proved my need for a Savior. During the most precious moments of my life, while I was raising little ones at home. God used events, circumstances, friends and even relatives to make me aware of my need for a Savior and He revealed that Savior to me through His word (that is a much longer story for another time).
I cannot begin to tell you how much easier it is to resting in the shadow of this God who knows, loves and cares for me and my family, in ways I would never know how to ask or even imagine. Scripture teaches, “we love because God first loved us”. It is true. God has met my greatest need in sending His son Jesus to live a life of righteousness, die a sinners death on the cross and be raised to life three days later for a sinner like me. He loves me and has given Himself for me that I might experience the abundant life he wants to give me. He has well laid plans for me, my future and for each person in my family.
As I read His word, and look to Him as a woman, a wife, a mom and a grandmother – I am undone at the myriad of ways He has attended to each of my family members, addressed issues in our lives I could never prepare for adequately and lavished his love on us. We are like any family with joys and pains, good times and bad times, love and heartbreak. Yet God remains steadfast and faithful.
As I look back over my life, it is a beautiful thing to look back and see how God has been there in everything. How he has answered prayers and deep longings I didn’t think possible. As a Grandmother, I have so much hope and confidence about all the possibilities of what God will continue to do long after I am gone. These are the things that life is made up of and with God it is ALL beautiful. Even the hardest and darkest of times He has used for good in our lives and promises He will continue to do just that.
As a Photographer, I am always trying to capture the beauty and connectedness of your most precious relationships; your children & your family. I see the beauty of God and His creation in your family. I see the Hope of His amazing plans for your family that began far before I ever met you and will extend far beyond our time together creating images. I want to capture the beauty and the wonder of these people and moments and it is Ten Thousand Percent my joy and pleasure to get to serve you in this way.
I want to capture the beauty and wonder of your life together. I want to capture growth and change. I want to capture the unique ways God has knit your family together.
As a Woman, a Wife, a Mom and a Grandma, I have been and am right there with you in the joys of family life and the sadness of it too. As a Child of God, myself, I want to hold out Hope and encourage you. I want to love on your family much like God has loved on me. I want to create beautiful images of your family and spur you on.
I want to create beautiful images with you and your family. Even more than that, I want you to look at those images and know that you are loved by a God who has all your times and all your days in His perfectly capable hands.
This is not just a business for me; It is the heartbeat of who I am. I want to love and serve God well and that means I want to love you and serve you well!! This is why I do what I do and why it is so incredibly important to me to do it well. This is what gets me up in the morning, sustains me through hours of editing and motivates me to work hard at getting the perfect image(s) of you with your most precious people, in your most memorable moments.