Just a part of life…

It’s another somber day around here. After an early morning run on a route I NEVER take, I found myself running down the street of a wonderful friend from church whom I have had the privilege of visiting with once a month for the past 5 months or so. In fact I was just there 5 days ago talking to her about her upcoming trip to Disneyland which she was very much looking forward to taking with her husband, children and grandkids.  Today as I ran past I noticed police cars and a Crisis Response Truck. I remember that truck…a similar one showed up with counselors to my in laws home in the wee hours of the night after my father in law passed away.  I felt nervous for what I was seeing but felt confident most those vehicles were in front of the neighbors house anyway…it couldn’t be for the dear family I knew.  And then I got a text…and just like about a week ago…my heart sank and a feeling of nausea came over me…the Lord had taken a dear loved one again, no doubt for big plans and important work in the heavens, but how I hurt for that dear family.

A little more than a week ago another friend was taken, this one from my husbands office. A young, vibrant father of 3 in his prime of life and incredible health.  It sure wasn’t fair. He had so much to live for…a beautiful family to live with and so many people that loved him.  I still haven’t stopped thinking about their family and the incredible loss they’ve had to endure.

Death seems like it has been so prevalent lately.  I blame knowing this due to the wonderful world of blogs.  I tend to latch onto the sweet stories of so many wonderful people who blog through their grief of losing a child or loved one so suddenly.  I wish I could say I don’t think about it and I wish I could move forward without putting myself in the shoes of those who’ve lost someone much too soon.  But in a large way I’m SO GRATEFUL for it. Because I sure live my days differently because it seems every month I know of or read a story of someone’s profound loss, and if people are going to have to die, then I might as well be influenced by their life and their stories.

One of the strongest thoughts I have had as of late is how important and how precious my job is.  Because life offers no guarantees and just as much as we need food and water and shelter in our lives…we need PICTURES!  And not just ANY pictures…we need lots of pictures…GOOD PICTURES because there always comes a day in our lives that PICTURES equal MEMORIES…and what price can be put on that?

A few years ago I went to the hospital to take photos of a friend who had sadly just lost her 8month old baby. I brought a simple cloth and a black t-shirt to the hospital to photograph with.  This grieving mother held her lifeless baby and with her girls they sang to him and grieved for him.  How thankful I was to give her that gift because in the days that followed I put together a slideshow of her baby boy and all of the photos they had of him were snapshots, many from cell phones lacking in quality.  I was able to give her these precious images…something tangible that helps her to remember that HER baby WAS here…he was real and she was his mother.

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I will never forget the moment she hugged me and told me I had given her the most amazing gift, something no one else could give her and something she’d forever cherish…and all I did was take some good pictures before she said goodbye to her baby.

There are so many times that my profession is overlooked and it’s value underappreciated.  Too many families grow up and all they ever take are snapshots with their own digital cameras.  No doubt this practice is important and I too do this all the time.  But there is something about having professional images that show detail and emotion that to me is a part of life…and as much as we need food and water and shelter…we need good quality pictures because what was once this perfect little tiny baby…

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Is now this beautiful little girl with brown eyes that pierce me and golden curls that fall around her face and in her eyes…and I always want to remember that…and since PICTURES = MEMORIES…I know I will always have that.

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So often in life, and especially in this economy we overlook the importance of having quality photos taken of our family.  In doing so we are giving away the chance to beautifully capture the people we love and the relationships we have.  Most people spare no expense in selecting the perfect stroller and putting together the most gorgeous nursery.  We drive the best cars and are always dressed to impress.  I’m not saying I haven’t been guilty of these same practices in my life, but the only difference I see is that to me, photography is just as much or MORE IMPORTANT than most of what I spend money on.  And while I respect and appreciate living with a budget and being careful of spending, I must say I’m truly humbled and reminded that nearly everything I have in life has significance not nearly as valuable as the MEMORIES I create through the photographs of my precious family.

I hope as you embark on this wonderful upcoming holiday season, and as you prepare your budgets to ensure every child has something they love from Santa…that you will find SOMEONE and SOMEWAY to have professional images taken of your most precious gifts in life!

And of course I’d love to help you with that =)

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Tricia WilsonOctober 5, 2010

What a beautiful post! You are such a wonderful photographer but also a great writer. As I sit here and rub away the goose bumps from my arms and the tears from my eyes. I will be forever grateful for your work. I love to look at our family photo and those 5 precious children that hang on the walls of my home. Above them is a sign that is a reminder to me daily. It says “Your children are your greatest wealth”. Thank you for this reminder to live each day to it’s fullest and to capture it with photos. “Quality photos”- JEN PHOTOS:)

Sally HuskOctober 5, 2010

Jen, thanks for making me cry! I could barely look at those photos, but how grateful I am that she was able to have them. I would really like to set something up with you please. Especially of Nathan growing up! Let me know what you have left available. Thanks

AndreaOctober 7, 2010

Jen – beautiful post and pictures, I can’t stop crying now..Thank you for everthing you DO for everyone! We love you!

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