Sacrifices, Inspiration & Gratitude
I remember as a young girl it was the sweltering hot summer days and bitter cold winter wind that used to worry me the most when my dad would walk out the door for work. He traveled to several dairy farms everyday for work first in Wood County and then in Manitowoc County. He had very little time off, which meant he missed church nearly every week, was left out of family celebrations with our extended families, had no weekends or holidays off and often ate supper alone every night. Looking back I can’t say the long hours bothered me, although I did worry about his safety on those extreme weather days. My parents certainly weren’t perfect and even though my dad worked a lot, I knew he always loved me and my sister, Erin. He still does too :) Somehow we managed to always sneak in family fun time especially on the weekends.
My mom too worked hard, first as a stay-at-home mom when we were toddlers and after some part-time jobs she went to college to earn her accounting degree. Erin and I were in second and sixth grade at the time and I remember Mom staying up until all hours of the night studying or dad keeping us quiet during the day so we wouldn’t disturb her. I vividly remember one art project she worked on for weeks and the night she brought it home from class it got ruined when condensation dripped on it from the gallon of milk Dad asked her to bring home. Needless to say we all had a few tears over that one. Since college, she’s had a handful of jobs that she’s really poured her heart and soul into. Some have loved her back…others not so much. But you know how it goes…what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger!
As I share these memories, I can’t help but smile and be extra thankful for these hard-working memories of my parents because it’s their sacrifice I remember the most. Their time, energy and perhaps money went to providing me and my sister the best lessons in life and gave us opportunities to grow and expand. Renting a brand new flute for me made me so happy and gave me the most joy at the time. It allowed me to feel important, talented and accomplished during my middle school years because I sat first chair in the band. I was bullied and left out by my classmates so it was a pretty dark time for me. But I’ll never forget wrapping my fingers around that flute and pressing it to my lips knowing I could do that because my mom and dad worked hard to give me that opportunity. I also enjoy a beautiful straight smile today because they thought the confidence that would give me would take me to the moon and back and make all my dreams come true. They sacrificed so much to give me those braces and til this day it’s still one of the best gifts they could have ever given me. Remembering these moments from my childhood and learning the value of hard work is why I continue my photography journey and refuse to give up on the hard days.
And that’s just it…knowing the value of hard work is what I want to pass on to my son or daughter and for generations to come. My child needs to see me working early mornings and late nights and making one financial decision over another to provide what is best for them. And I owe that to my parents too. It’s my duty and responsibility to take the lessons and sacrifices they’ve taught me and put them to work. Specifically as a photographer, it means sharing my talents with happy couples in love and walking with them in life as they celebrate milestone moments. In fact, I’m getting weepy just writing this because I’m only a couple months away from marrying the love of my life and I can’t wait to document our life! Every couple deserves to have those moments preserved for a lifetime and they need to find a photographer who will treat those moments as if they were their own. Knowing this is what keeps me going when the path gets rocky and the doubts start to creep in.
My inspiration for beginning my photography career came while I was working at Channel 5 here in Green Bay. I ran cameras for the 5, 6 and 10 newscasts and had aspirations of becoming a reporter. It was the feel good stories I loved and they were meant to inspire or bring about positive change in the community. However, it didn’t take me long to figure out reporting wasn’t what I was meant to do. Instead I could tell stories with a still camera and make a positive difference in people’s lives. I knew I needed a way to make a living and portrait photography seemed to be the best path. Again, the path gets rocky, but I always come back to what inspired me in the first place and after ten years all the beautiful images and heartfelt love and appreciation my clients have expressed to me make the hard work worth it.
I know that I’ve captured moments with grandmas and grandpas, aunts, uncles, cousins and parents who have since passed away after a wedding day. Because I was there, my couples have those memories of loved ones forever. I want you to remember how joyful and loved you felt on your wedding day when you pull out your album and see grandma hugging you in your beautiful dress or your dad crying tears of joy right before he walked you down the aisle. And because my couples, both past, present and future have trusted me with their priceless memories, I will be able to wrap my arms around my own child one day knowing he or she is provided for and will have the chance to discover his or her talents to share with the world. That thought alone makes me so thankful for each and every client I’ve photographed in the past or will meet in the future! Thank you for making dreams come true for generations to come!