I am grateful I am a bit behind with my blogs because on this dreary, rainy day, I get to post amazing images from the summer. I love senior portraits, but I also love when a family takes a moment to capture a precious time in their life. On the brink of sending her third baby to college, Tina agreed to take a moment and embrace a summer day with her precious girls. We weren't able to capture the entire family but we caught the sweetest bond between a momma and her girls.
As if the summer day isn't perfect enough, and the girls not beautiful enough, how about the toggery? As beautiful as a coral rose. This session is absolutely Pinterest Perfect!
Thank you Fortner girls for sharing such a fun afternoon with me. As a mom of three girls, I am green with envy about your session. I love the words "A daughter is God's way of Saying 'thought you could use a lifelong friend' ". Tina, Gracie and Belle, thank you for sharing your friendship!
I would like to share a story with you about a precious boy in the Allen community, Zach Hoefler. A few know the entire story, some know a bit of the story, and many are seeing #Hoeflerstong and know none of the story. I'm in the camp that knows a bit of the story and will share it now (with the sweet consent of Zach's mom). It is my hope to share the story of a beautiful brave young man from Allen, and unite our community in prayer.
Zach is an amazing sweet boy living here in Allen, Texas. He lives with his mom, dad and sister in the Twin Creeks community. He grew up playing football with his friends, passionately supporting the Patriots, bonding with his dad with 70s rock, participating in Allen Eagles football, tolerating his beautiful sisters singing and acting, and faithfully participating in youth events and mission trips at Suncreek United Methodist Church. Just a fantastic, typical Allen High School kid. But just before his high school senior year, he started to experience headaches. The headaches increased in severity and doing everything right, the family took him to doctors and specialists and ultimately found out Zach had a brain tumor. While this is a scary diagnosis, the family's faith (a faith like no others) filled them with hope and trust in the doctors. The prognosis looked scary, difficult, but ultimately hopeful. In fact - after a summer of surgeries and hospital stays, the doctors encouraged the Hoefler family to get Zach back in a routine, and back to his senior year at Allen. He had some lifestyle modifications, many more doctor visits and a disappointing restriction that led him stay on the football sidelines; I teased him because he at least got to hang out with the cute athletic trainers! Zach's life was not ever going to be the same, but the future looked good. In fact, after senior year Zach enrolled in the University of Mississippi. He there started his freshman year and joined a fraternity.
So why all the #Hoeflerstrong posts now? Zach's freshman year at Ole Miss was interrupted by more headaches. And more hospital stays and radiation and peaks and valleys of health and sickness. The once seemingly manageable diagnosis of Pilocytic Astrocytoma has taken a terrible turn. While the cure rate is optimistically posted as 90%, it seems Zach is not falling into the favorable odds.
No stone has gone unturned for Zach. He has had the best care at Children's in Dallas, wisdom from St. Judes, and opportunities for trial drugs from MD Anderson in Houston. And at all times, faith in the ultimate healer Jesus Christ.
We do not know why some are healed and some are not. We do not know God's plan for Zach, we just know that there is a community wanting to do so much for the Hoefler family and sometimes prayer doesn't seem like enough. So the community is sharing #Hoeflerstrong anyway they can. I for one am sharing it to show the Hoefler's how VERY much they are loved, and to encourage everyone to pray.
Zach is at his home now in hospice care. I don't know what I can do for the Hoefler's, or Zach.
But for now, this is how I will pray for the Hoeflers,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
This summer I had the opportunity to photograph ads for some of our local businesses. I love that our business community supports our High School. Many purchase ads in the Allen Football Program to not only advertise, but to support the Allen Eagles. And not only do they support financially, many request photoshoots with the Allen Eagles.
If you purchase the Allen Program at any of the football games, you will see all the fantastic images and ads from a variety of photographers and businesses. While taking these portraits I had the opportunity to meet some great kids. I love our high schoolers. That is why I chose senior portrait photography - these kids are so amazing and excited about their future. Chatting with the kids at the sessions and talking about recruitment and college plans was so fun. I was blessed to see a few of the Allen models at multiple shoots. After getting to know one of the cheerleaders, her mom asked me to take some cheerleading images for her. I LOVED doing this! First of all, Allen High School has beautiful colors and uniforms. I am from the MidWest, and while I loved being a Viking, unless you're Swedish or from Rockford, Illinois, you may not be familiar with Scandanavian blue. Here in Allen, we are so Americana, from red white and blue to being an Eagle, I love it! It makes for some amazing images!
Allen has suffered some criticism for the size of our high school and the cost of our stadium. But I know our Eagles and I know that Allen is the greatest community in Texas. Proud to be from Allen! #goeagles
What do you want to be when you grow up? Why do we even ask that? I am a person, it's not like I can say "a dog!" "I want to be a dog when I grow up." I mean I do, but that's not going to happen. But I get it... it's more about what do you want to do. But how about this, WHO do you want to be when you grow up? I am a bit old to fantasize about being an astronaut or ballerina, but I can certainly keep trying to become the best person I can be. And in the end, I want to be like Gail Wade. I have known Gail since I joined Suncreek United Methodist Church. Now, I don't know the day I met her, but I am certain it is within the week I joined Suncreek. I know this because Gail is always at Suncreek. She volunteers, leads Vacation Bible School, goes to Sunday School, crafts, plays in the Bell Choir, watches the Children's Christmas Pageants, attends the Easter Egg Hunt, plays games... the list goes on and on. I believe the only event she skips is Frisbee Friday but only because it conflicts with picking up donations for Hope's Door. Gail is amazing. And I believe it is because she is so selfless.
I was the photographer for a local magazine for a while and the community could nominate families they thought represented the best of Allen to be on the cover. I nominated the Wades. Gail resisted. Oh she resisted, but if you don't know me, I can be a bit persuasive. So Gail and Jim agreed to be on the cover of Allen Neighbors. I believe the Wades represent everything that is great about Allen. They have lived through a few seasons here in Allen and have stayed. It takes more than a big stadium or great parks to keep a family here after kids have passed through our amazing school systems. It takes a great community. And people like the Wades make our community amazing.
So, what do I want to be when I grow up? A little bit more like Gail Wade. Married for 60 years and still laughing at my silly husband. And always a servant.
It's raining. AND raining. And you know what that makes me think of? Flowers! Well, it used to. I am originally from Illinois. Midwest. Corn. Cubs. Farmland. And beautiful Mums and ornamental grasses. But no St. Augustine grass. Prickly, drought tolerant, runners? Runners in Illinois are on the street in Nike shorts, sweatshirts and shoes. Grass in Texas is not what I am used to. Either is the gardening. I can't do it! Between clay and rabbits and droughts, the only thing I can grow is a scrappy Dusty Miller. So today, I am grateful for the rain that will bring some life to my grass and the sparse landscaping I have. But thank goodness for 1-800-FLOWERS because I can stop by there, buy a bouquet of Roses and bring that beautiful gardening into my home with no hassle. AND this year, I got to stop by 1-800 FLOWERS and photograph their ad image. I had an amazing time with a few Tallenettes outside 1-800-Flowers. I am grateful for the local businesses supporting Allen High School. And grateful they can find flowers in fall!