I was an imaginative child — spending hours playing dolls with my best friend in the country homes and fields where we grew up. My family had little money due to a drought that nearly wiped out our 400 acre farm. My sister and I were brought up on hard work, family values, Gramma's cookies, lots of love, and stories. It was through the stories my parents' read to us and those they told us while flipping through old family albums that I found my passion for storytelling, but it wasn't until 2017 that I truly understood the backbone of my passion.
A woman I barely knew was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer at the age of 35, and in the time before her death, this non-smoking, mother of two, taught me about the meaning behind strength and grace — with the biggest lesson of all coming just seven days after our portrait session.
After filling her husband in on a delightful day with friends and family, she stood to go bed. Instead, a clot broke loose and she fell to her rest. When her portraits went viral in our community, this beautiful woman, now a friend who would be deeply missed, taught me about my purpose and reignited my passion for storytelling.