I am a strong believer in helping others. To give back to our community and pay it forward. Because by helping others we better the world, our community and in turn ourselves. It opens hearts and minds, and heals the soul.
This last year I was introduced to a wonderful organization, Magic Hour, that embraces this same belief by connecting Professional Photographers to individuals fighting battles with cancer. The photographers in this organization are vetted to ensure quality in service, and I can tell you right now...I cried when I filled out my application to them.
They asked "Why...". Why would I ever want to help someone fighting cancer? So many reasons for me....my Mother-In-Law winning her fight with breast cancer, my Father winning his battle with kidney cancer, my grandmother dying from ovarian & breast cancer....but the story that tugs the most on my heart is of my half sister's battle with breast cancer. A young mom of 3 kids, fighting a loosing battle.
Every year I wish I had more photos of her. Photos of her with her kids. Photos of her and I. Photos....just any more photos of her. If only Magic Hour had been around back then. She is the reason I applied, and the reason I love giving back to those in need.
So I applied, was accepted, and after almost a year of being a member, was connected with a local family that needed professional photos done. Miss Suzanne, a retired Army Vet, is battling Ewing's Sarcoma...a rare juvenile form of bone cancer. She and her family had never had professional photos done before, and they figured now was the perfect time.
Now, when you hear the word "Cancer", what do you think of? If you have seen the ugly side of cancer, you think of weakness...IV tubes...hospital rooms...death & grief. You expect the worst. You imagine a frail, sickly human being that is at deaths door. But Miss Suzanne was nothing like that. Her smile lit up the studio! She was bubbly, full of energy, joked around, and was excited for her photo shoot.
We had already pre-planned family photos with her loving husband, daughter and two sons, as well as some of her in her belly dancing costume. I was certain this costume was going to be one from years gone by...nope! This beautiful woman has been dancing throughout her chemo treatments. Performing in groups or by herself, for large audiences and small events.
All I could say was "Wow!". Amazed by the strength and happiness radiating from this woman. Her response was simply..."People in my treatments tell me I'm inspiring, but I don't think I am. I just like to dance, and there are much more inspiring stories out there."
Beautiful. Radiant. Humble.
And if you are wondering what her prognosis is, it's pretty good! Ewing's Sarcoma is very rare and usually only found in kids age 6-18. It is usually found in the legs and pelvis, but in Miss Suzanne's case her lower spine. The extreme pain she experienced this last year alerted doctors early, and treatments seem to be working well. She still has several more treatments ahead of her, but her doctor's seem hopeful for her recovery.
Her thoughts on her diagnosis "Well if I hadn't been such a child all my life, I probably never would have caught this!"
That right there. That's her! That wonderful sense of humor. That positive attitude. The joy and happy nature she exudes. This woman is a fighter. An inspiration, no matter what she says! An army veteran and I'm sure someday soon a cancer survivor.
I feel so blessed to have been connected with this fantastic woman and her beautiful family. To have had the opportunity to meet her amazing dance troupe, the Prairie Moon Belly Dancers. To have seen the love and support she has all around her. I am inspired. And I hope these photos are an inspiration to anyone else out there fighting back any illness. Stay positive and never give up.
"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass…it's about learning to dance in the rain."
Las Vegas, NV
Every once in awhile I like to host a mini day(s) event. A themed set of mini's the gives parents the opportunity to come in and get some fun shots of their kiddos when they normally would not be able to. We have done Halloween, Holiday, Valentines...basically all the holidays. But since we are moving, I wanted to get one last Mini Day Event in and it had to be something super fun.
Now, July is HOT here in Vegas. So what to do inside that is fun....BUBBLES! And the Bubble Mini day was born.
It was a short and fun event with lots of laughs. Here are just a few highlights from this great event!
Las Vegas, NV
This sweet little girl is so blessed to have a mommy that is an AMAZING cake decorator. For months, her mommies and I have been planning colors and decorations for this session. Flowers, Balloons, and everything girly for this little princess. But the most fantastic part of the day was the cake! Her mom went all out with this amazing creation, and it fit Miss Savannah's personality perfectly. Delicate, soft, and most of all...sweet!
Please enjoy just a few of my favorites from this beautiful Cake Smash session.
Las Vegas, NV
This beautiful woman booked her session just days before we announced our move to Nebraska. I was so worried she would cancel, and so thrilled that she didn't. She is simply gorgeous!
Check out a few of my favorites below!
Las Vegas, NV
This Momma is amazing. I know I say that a lot, but in these gorgeous photos...she is about 38 weeks pregnant. You might not think that is much, except she had this sweet little baby just 2 days after our mini maternity session. She kept saying, "I think it will be soon. I think I'm ready". Boy was she right!
I'm so thrilled to have been able to capture this wonderful time for her. She brought her two older kiddos that were so excited to be having a new baby sibling. These images are so precious.
A few of my favorite images are below...check them out!
Las Vegas, NV
I like to call this..."the birth I almost missed". Ha! You see...I had been out of town on a family vacation to Minnesota, and the last night there I get a call saying from this beautiful momma saying "My water just broke! But no contractions yet." Ummmm....I won't be home for another 23 hours! My heart sank as I hate to miss my little clients coming into the world. I put my back-ups on high alert, and prayed baby would wait for me.
Luckily, her labor didn't start right away. In fact, I was able to fly home, unpack, get a shower, AND get a full nights rest in before another call of "You should head over now" came in. But I can tell you...once little Miss Journey decided to come, it wasn't very long!
I arrived at mom and dads home around 9am, and little miss was earthside just after 10am. It was a fast delivery into daddy and mommy's arms.
The best part for me though...watching dad support his beautiful wife through labor. He never left her side, never spoke louder than a whisper, and even shed tears when she screamed out in pain as he wanted to ease her pain from her. It was so emotional to watch such support.
Please enjoy just a few of my favorite images from this amazing home birth!
Las Vegas, NV
I do not get many clients that are preparing for a hospital birth. Not sure why that is, because I love to photograph in the hospitals here in Las Vegas. So when I went on call for this lovely momma....I was excited! I couldn't wait to meet this sweet little boy.
Then the call came in late one night, and off I went. I arrived just as their lovely doula, Miss Erica Delmore, got there. It seemed we were very early in labor, and mom was admitted but sent out to the waiting area to walk around for awhile. After a few hours, mom was tired and it seemed like labor was going to be awhile, so I headed home to let mom get some rest before active labor kicked in.
The next morning...it was time to go! I rushed to the hospital....and mom is progressing nicely. Dad, grandma, aunts, friends...all were there to support this lovely momma. The doctor was on his way, and mom was doing great!
Several hours passed. Momma was being monitored closely, and the delivery equipment began to be rolled in. That is when I think the reality of "becoming a mom" really hit home for mom and she panicked just a bit. It was amazing to watch her doula and fiance jump in with words of encouragement to calm her. But the biggest tear-jerker....her mom worked her way over to the bed, grabbed her daughters hand, and began to stroke her daughters hair slowly...saying "You are ok." And this young, soon to be mom, found her calm and courage to continue with labor. I still get tears in my eyes just thinking about it. So wonderful to watch.
And then....we have to push!! Woo hoo! The doctor jumps in the room, and exclaims "Lets have a baby!" A little less than 15 minutes later...a beautiful, dark haired little boy enters the world with just a few strong pushes from his momma. A family grows by one more little person. Beautiful!
Check out some of the amazing images captured from this beautiful hospital birth.
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