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


Nina said...

These are powerful and beautiful. So happy to hear she is now cancer free!

Leah said...

Thank you so much, Nina!!! <3

Mommara said...

Joanna, you are lovely my dear. What an amazing gift you have shared with us. Praying for you as you continue your journey!

Leah. Amazing.

Mommara said...

Joanna, you are lovely. What a precious gift you have shared with us in your story. Praying for you as you continue on this journey and congrats on Cancer free!!

Leah. Amazing.

Patty Mews said...

Powerful statements with the photos to back them. I love the angel kisses on her face~ beautiful. Leah, another photo session that ONLY you could do with such grace and creativity. The lighting and poses are perfect.

Heather said...

These are so raw and powerful and full of emotion. Leah, you did a beautiful job. Thank you Joanna for sharing yourself and your story. You are strong and gorgeous.

Anna Hollister said...

such a powerful and emotional message. She is beautiful beyond words. Congratulations on being cancer free!!

Celeste Pavlik said...

What a beautiful and inspiring woman and story. I am so happy that she is cancer free.

kmanthe said...

These are beyond beautiful honey and so is she. So happy she has these and so happy you shared them with us all. xoxo