If you are like me, you have found it very difficult over the last few days to focus on pretty much anything but the tragedy that took place last week in Connecticut. You have probably taken a little more time to hug and kiss your kids and truly cherish their innocence. You've probably looked at them at counted your blessings. You've probably cried. And you've probably wished to hear a story that would lift up your heart. I was lucky enough to have all of this these last few days. I am especially grateful for this story that was shared with me at a time when I needed to hear something good.
If you read my last blog post then you know how very excited I was to photograph my first Operation Love: Reunited session. It wasn't long after receiving my first inquiry that I received my second! I was ecstatic! I couldn't wait to meet this new family - a sweet family of three. We scheduled their session for early September and we were going to be photographing their session at my new favorite location, Hopewell Furnace.
It took me a very long time to find a job that suited me well. You see, I get very emotionally involved in everything I do. This is really tough when it comes to a job because I always take the job home with me. This is one of the reasons that photography suits me so well. After spending an hour or two (sometimes more) with my clients, they now become part of my history. I think of them after my "job" is done. I remember our conversations and the stories that their children have told me. This is especially true with OpLove sessions. Our session is specifically set up because a family member is about to deploy to a foreign country to keep our own country safe. They sacrifice their own needs and an ordinary life to ensure that our freedom remains intact. These men and women are brave and selfless and don't ask for anything in return. They have families at home who love and support them and we don't really see what they go through. So yes, I think of these families often. They are in my thoughts and prayers and I hope that by sharing this story, they will be in yours too.
This weekend Christina contacted me to let me know that her husband received the album that I sent to him. I was also lucky enough to have the help of two fantastic teachers who both had their students make handmade cards for him. I was thrilled that he had received the box and loved not just the pictures that we took back in September, but the cards that the kids made for him too! I was so happy to have been able to thank this man and his family for what they do! In my correspondence with Christina, she told me the story of how she and Trevor met and ultimately brought me to them. It was such an amazing story that I asked her permission to share it here on my blog. It was such an uplifting story that I was so grateful to hear. So thank you Christina for sharing such a personal story with me and for allowing me to share it with the world. You and Trevor are an amazing couple and wonderful parents full of love for your beautiful, sweet and funny daughter. I will never forget the pride and I love I saw in your eyes when you looked at your husband during our photo session. I look forward to the day when you and Trevor and Savannah are reunited. Know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers and I look forward to the next time I get to photograph all of you! ♥ Kristi
The story of Christina and Trevor:
"We have been given so many compliments on the photos! One of those compliments came from a "gold star mom.” Military families commonly will have a service flag in their home with a blue star in the middle representing a loved serving overseas and those who had lost their lives were represented by a gold star, hence the term “gold star families,” a title that no family member wants to achieve.
This "gold star mom" is not just any mom; after her son passed away in the spring of 2006 she continued to support all of our military families and is an inspiration to many, including myself. Which is how you get to Trevor and me.....After 9-11 I was like most Americans affected by the tragedy and wanted justice to be served. When the wars started and years passed I will admit that I was once again like most Americans, heavy hearted when I heard about the sacrifices of the men and women giving their lives for our freedom and then news channel would change. It wasn’t that I didn’t mourn their loss or appreciate their services; I just had no connection to the war. That all changed on 28 April 2006. After Brandon died I felt horrible and wanted to support our troops but didn't know how...His family encouraged all of us to find ways and to let our soldiers know our appreciation. Three weeks after Brandon's funeral, I "adopted" a soldier; little did I know at the time that I would be writing to my future husband! I wrote to him for my own emotional healing trying to make sense of what happened to Brandon and bring encouragement to Trevor’s day. He continued to write to me nonstop and about four months into our "friendship" he asked if he could start calling me. I really just thought he wanted to pass time but he started calling me EVERY day which turned into months of conversations. I later found out that he would wait in line for over an hour in the hot sun and high temperatures to talk to me for 20 minutes. After he arrived home from his deployment to Iraq he purchased a ticket, leaving the day after Christmas and flew to see me. I knew immediately that I would marry this man. Seven months later my predication came true, and a few months later he deployed again, this time for 15 months to Afghanistan. I never imagined myself married to a military man living this Army Wife lifestyle but I believe deep in my heart that by no other reason Trevor was meant to be in my life. His family truly believes that Trevor and Savannah are gifts sent from Brandon above. We are grateful that you were able to capture some of these moments for our family and for theirs. Even though their son will never be able to be with them, I know it brings comfort to them knowing Brandon is still performing small miracles here on Earth!!!"
Click here to learn more about Brandon and sign the guestbook!