Last week I stood on a beach just south of Houston, Texas. The sand was warm but not too hot. The waves were comforting and the sunset looked like cotton candy. I photographed Kelsey in a beautiful gown and marveled that my studio could be the beach for an evening. On Friday I returned home to Missouri, and that body of water that had held us in awe and comforted our bare feet began devastating the city of Houston. That water crept up to the front door of my parents' home... and eventually poured in through the windows.

And all weekend I, eager to share beautiful beach portraits with all of you, was haunted by this dichotomy. Nature: breathtakingly beautiful in one moment, and capable of physically taking one's breath in another. Last Wednesday: Incredible. This week: Relentless. All weekend and through yesterday I checked in with family and friends in Houston, heartbroken by the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. I wept, and I despised nature.

But today the sun is shining in Houston. People are voluntarily risking their own safety to ensure the safety of others. Public servants are working long hours. Businesses are giving away food and supplies. People all over the country are raising money to fund relief efforts. People are holding onto hope. 

And once again, there it is: the beauty. I personally didn't see it at first - but in every disaster, hardship, and trial, there is a way the darkness can be redeemed and turned into light.

So many are suffering this week and the road to recovery is a long one. If you are able, please donate to the Red Cross or another trustworthy organization. We want to do our part too, so for every session booked between now and the end of September (regardless of when the actual session takes place), we will donate the $195 fee to a trusted church in my family's neighborhood that gives 100% of donations directly to those who need it. Fill out our contact form here to get started.

Thank you also to all of our friends and clients who asked how my family was doing this week. They were rescued by boat on Monday and are safe. 

Whether the storms you're facing are hurricanes or other hardships in life, please don't ever give up. Remember we were never meant to weather these storms alone.



Want to start planning your dream shoot at our Joplin studio or anywhere in the world? Fill out our contact form here. Talk to you soon!