Want less. Give more. Radiate hope. Love. Fear not. Judge never.
Those were the words of my dear friend, Joanna, when I asked her if there was a message she would like to impart with the images I am about to share.

Her name means "God is Gracious." And that, He is!  Her final chemo treatment was in January and, though its been a hard road, she is now cancer free!

Having just celebrated Mother's Day, I thought it would be the perfect time to finally share these images.   This post is a celebration of a woman, wife, and mother whose humble gratitude and grace through difficult times is undoubtedly the most encouraging message of hope for us all.

Back in December, I received a message from Joanna with a simple idea.  She asked if I would be willing to capture her just as she was...no makeup...no hair...and embracing it all.  She had a vision.  A message she was inspired to share.  And though I hadn't seen Joanna for several years prior to this, we immediately picked up where we left off and shared our hearts with one another via several messages.  She is a kindred spirit indeed, and I felt so honored to be able to help her with this project.

Joanna is the most caring, sincere, selfless woman you could ever meet.  I will never forget the day I took these images and how in between each one, she would share a piece of her soul with me and her emotional roller coaster of the last several months.  She was herself...her perfect beautiful self.  So humble and sincere.  Her strength through all this, both in body and spirit, has been such an inspiration to me and I hope she will inspire you as well.

She shared with me how she often struggled with survivors guilt, but she turned it around to pay it forward for all the people who can't.  If you want to read more about Joanna and her battle with cancer, please visit her Joanna Strong Facebook page.

These are her words and her raw beauty...from the inside and out.
Cancer taught me to let go of fear.
What will be will be.
Once you live life free of fear, you become limitless.
And so powerful.
Available to others, more generous, and loving.
You have more time and are more relaxed.
Cancer has taught me many lessons, and for that,
I am thankful.
xoxo. Joanna


A very dear friend of mine (and fellow photographer), Haley Kraus Photography, asked me awhile back if I would consider shooting the birth of her fourth baby.  How could I say no?  I have only shot one other birth, but it is the one thing I have considered going into business for because I love it so much.   

Where do I begin?  Haley is a real life Superwoman.  There is just no other way around it.  She lights up any room she walks into and you are always sure to have a good time when she is around.  It's no wonder she makes friends wherever she goes.  She can somehow do a million things at once without (seemingly) much effort.  And yet through it all, she is a devoted wife and mother to the sweetest family one could ever be blessed to know.  I love this lady dearly and I felt so honored she would ask me to photograph the birth of baby Nolan.

Little Nolan was so anxious to meet his loving family that he came at 34 weeks.  Though unexpected, he is a happy healthy baby boy.  He weighed 6 pounds at birth, but needed a few weeks in the NICU to bulk up a bit more.  He got to go home last week and they are all doing wonderfully.

In addition to this massive share (hehe), I have put together a little video montage below. :-)

Haley, thank you so much for the honor of allowing me to photograph this beautiful day for you.  Enjoy!  Love you! xoxo