This is an amazing woman. I wish she lived next door to me.
harvesting hope: a life worth remembering.
When we moved into our new house last year, I pondered what to hang on the walls. Our old photo canvases and prints were still in storage. I thought back on all of our professional family photos and realized that I had also avoided hanging those at our old house; they sat for years in a pile on our bedroom floor. When I looked at those pictures, I always remembered how I’d felt during the shoot, and it felt heavy. I remembered how much Gracie hated the scratchy dress I told her she had to wear, how Donny and I argued on the way there. I saw the antique props that I purchased the day before to look like they had character and stories. But the stories were not ours.
And, over the years as a photographer, with each client session that I photographed, I began to cringe whenever the parents quietly begged their children to behave, and bribes were on hand to help hide away the tears. When the sun finally set, and I said “finished,” it was common that the parents would allow their shoulders to finally relax; the children would kick off their shoes; and that’s when the authentic beauty would shine the brightest. But by then the daylight had already faded, and my camera was put away.
As an artist, it tortured me.
This past year, Donny and I worked through a lot of heavy stuff. In the years leading up to our move, we were going in fast motion, and we didn’t take the time we needed to nurture our marriage. After years of continually feeling exhausted and unfulfilled, we got fed up, sold our home and all of our belongings, traveled the country looking for a place that felt like home, then put down roots on a farm in Washington state. Once we settled into a simpler lifestyle, we found the time we needed to work through our pain. We faced hard truths. We let go of years of bitterness. We learned how to anchor our respect for one another. And we found a wellspring of hope in the midst of our healing.
This growth in my personal life stirred up something in me as an artist.
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