I wasn’t always a photographer. I have always loved photos, but I, as many people do, pursued a career in IT, thinking that it would give me all the stability and financial security I needed to support my family, and not really considering how much more I needed from a career. Now, most people get to this point of the story, and then they talk about how much they hated their job and dreamed of something else. To be honest, I didn’t hate working in IT, in fact, I really enjoyed helping people with their computer problems. While I enjoyed the work, as happens to most people working for large corporations, the company started demanding more and more of my time. When I did well, I was expected to do better, and suddenly, working in IT was highly stressful for me, and while I didn’t know it at the time, that stress would be compounded by one of the hardest things I will ever face in my life.
Every year over 280,000 women in America will be diagnosed with breast cancer; it is the second most common cancer amongst women. In 2011, I was one of those women. Getting that diagnosis is a terrifying, life-changing thing. It changes how you think of the future and what parts of your life hold the most importance and meaning. Within a year, I had three separate surgeries. Fighting cancer was an all-consuming journey. The ups and downs of being afraid of the outcome, and bucking myself up to keep fighting, were exhausting. After multiple surgeries, radiation, and cancer treatments, my body was exhausted, my mind was exhausted, and I had learned that the possibility of me being able to have children was very slim. Still, I was not going to let cancer rob me of being a mom. So while I was now cancer-free, my husband and I had to think about how we would start a family.
We knew that we wanted to be parents, and since my medical difficulties made that nearly impossible, we decided to pursue adoption instead. We were blessed with the opportunity to adopt two children from Kazakhstan. For those of you who have pursued adoption to grow your family, you know that it is no easy road! Adoption, while an incredible blessing, is challenging! There are so many different legal hurdles that need to be jumped through, including home studies, background checks, medical clearances, immigration clearances, and so much more. There are also months of insecurity while you are awaiting approval. All that before you ever get to lay eyes on your children. Once you finally get to travel across the world to meet your kids, you have to wait even longer to bring them home. It’s an agonizing wait filled with the fear that something could go wrong, and the children you already love and consider part of your family may not ever get to come home with you. Luckily for us, we got to bring our children home in 2004.
All this to say, that stress was a constant in my life for many many years! After adopting our incredible children, I found out I was pregnant with the miracle baby I was told I could never have. When the other two children came home, I quit work a while to take care of them, but after a few years, I had needed something else in my life to do other than just being a mom, so I started taking college classes in photography, I was so in love with it. So I did photoshoots for family and close friends, which were fantastic but didn’t bring home any money. So I ended up back in IT until 2012 when our third child was born, and I knew that something had to change! So I went back to my old love, photography, and this time I was determined to make it a success!
Fast forward a few years, and a setback or two, and Forever Memories was born! In 2016 I decided to open up a studio and make my dreams a reality! I now have a studio outside of my home, and I have two assistants that work with me; believe me when I say that I couldn’t do this without them! I love taking beautiful photos, and this love can make me a little tunnel-visioned at times. When I’m on a shoot, I sometimes get up and leave all my gear everywhere just to stay focused on what I want for my clients to see in their photos. Thank God for my team, who helps pick up after me! Now I really am just like my kids…lol.
Forever Memories is a full-service photography studio offering many different photography services from Weddings, Senior and Family Portraits, Newborn and Pet Photography, and Commercial photography. We offer a unique blend of in-studio and outdoor photos for the perfect mix of posed and candid images to round out your session. For me, this is my passion and one of the best parts of my life. I love witnessing the great moments in life, the moments that bring joy, hope, and excitement for the future. In my life, the struggles I’ve overcome have taught me one thing, and this one thing is the truth upon which I have built my business. Life is short, good times are a treasure, and taking the time to enjoy them and preserve them is crucial! There is nothing more important than capturing those extraordinary moments of your life and turning them into your Forever Memories.