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Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter on the Farm

Happy Easter! We spent Easter at my in-laws farm for the annual Meier Easter Egg Hunt. It was a lot of fun and were glad the weather held up long enough for the kids to hunt for those eggs and time to hang out with the horses. I decided to bring my camera along for the festivities and I am glad I did. I got some great image from the day. These are just a few of the many fun moments. Stay tuned for some another blog post dedicated to our laughter for the day!

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Special Evening

I will never forget the day that my mom called and told me that my aunt and uncle had just found out that the baby my aunt was carrying had Downs Syndrome. I can honestly say, I was so excited! I believe there is something so special about a child with Downs beautiful, innocent, honest and pure. I couldn't wait to meet this beautiful child! My cousin Carmen is such a special treasure! I can remember one Thanksgiving I was teaching her a few words in sign language, and at Christmas time she was so excited to show me that she remembered the signs I taught her.

Why do I tell you all of this about my cousin? What does this have to do with photography you may ask? Well, I have been asked several times to photograph several events that the Up Sides of Downs, a non-profit organization that gives support and provides a community for families with Downs children. It is a great organization and I am blessed to help however I can.

This past weekend we headed to Cleveland to document their annual fundraiser, a Reverse Raffle. It was a lot of fun and so beautiful to see over 650 people in attendance to support such a great cause!

I hope these images can give you a feel of the spirit of the evening!

LaMalfa Center puts on a serious spread!
The fruit was quite the enticing display, as the desserts were irresistible!
This couple just had a baby with Downs about 9 months ago and were welcomed into the USOD community quickly. Matt, with his proud niece, received recognition for the work he and his sister have been doing for years, speaking to people of all ages about Downs Syndrome to educate others and share about their community.
Many people walked away happy winners all night long
from the Reverse Raffle and the Chinese Auction.
Not gonna lie, would have loved to brought both of these home to Jacob!
Everyone couldn't help, but cut a rug on the dance floor,
thanks to the great DJ'ing by the Marino Brothers!

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Blessed Journey

A few weeks ago I got an e-mail from a woman named Erin who was writing to me about a very sensitive situation. They recently discovered that the child she was carrying will be born with out kidneys, therefore will not live much past birth. She and her husband, Wes, have decided that she will carry the baby full term and cherish the time they have with their child before their child will experience the glories of Heaven. What a gift as parents to honor their child in this way.

The reason she contacted me is that she learned that I was a photographer for a non-profit organization that donates photography sessions to families who have children that are either still-born or are sick at birth and only live a short time. This organization is called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. While each situation is unique and difficult on it's own level, the ability to provide a family with cherished images of their child as a memory and keepsake is a priceless gift that we as photographers can provide.

Erin decided that she would like me to be there after their baby is born to capture those precious moments that they will have with their child on this earth. She said even if she never looked at the pictures, she wanted to know that she had them. She also said that she wanted to do things as normal as possible with this pregnancy as she did with her older son, who just turned 2. I offered to do a maternity session as well, at no charge. I did the maternity session last week and it was a blessing to meet the Buente family and I am honored to be able to journey with them in this way.

These are a few of my favorite images from the shoot. The book she is reading is called, "On the Night You Were Born" and she plans to have the baby's footprints placed in the book and to read the book to her son, Chase in years to come. The bunny is something that she got, as suggested by other parents who have gone through the loss of a child, so that while she will not be able to bring her child home from the hospital, this is a keepsake that she has for comfort.

Erin is a beautiful mother inside and out, and her strength, and her husband's strength is truly a witness of how we need to rely on God during the hard times. How God really does carry us through the times of suffering. It is never easy, and we always say that parents should never have to bury their children. Yet, as we learned, when we lost Therese Marie, God makes good out of all situations, and God knew we needed a saint in Heaven praying for our family. Baby Buente, we pray for you now and ask for you to pray for us when you are in the arms of the Father!

You can keep updated with the Buente Family on their blog.