Over the past few days, I have watched in shock and horror as the water levels keep rising in Houston - the city I flew into less than two months ago for this session. It's hardly recognizable when I see images on the news. The wonderful woman who hosted me in her home has stayed safe and dry thus far, but many of her clients and friends have lost everything. The two families we served 30 minutes or so outside of Houston have also escaped the flood damage, but the Houston community is hurting.
As the death count continues to rise, grief sets in, and suffering ensues, we know there is a long road to recovering and rebuilding. When we feel helpless and feel compelled to give as a way of making an impact, but think that $10 or $20 doesn't feel like much of anything to give, please know that every dollar has a purpose and truly helps. Organizations like Preemptive Love, and other organizations (and more) who are on the ground actively helping others, need our support to keep doing what they do. Speaking as someone who runs a non-profit... without your money, we would not be able to do what we do. It matters. Please help support the people of Houston - give whatever you can to the people who need your resources to continue saving lives and supporting those in need.
This session post was scheduled to be posted earlier this month, but we pushed it back to announce Kristyn's farewell... Then Harvey happened, and all eyes have been on Texas. We've been thinking about Texas too - not only hoping for the water to subside, but for love to pour out, for courage to rise up, and for hope to take root.
The Combs Family has been weathering their own storm and have been surrounded by love as they take courage and hold onto hope. Two years ago, Alyssa called me and told me her daughter had been diagnosed with SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) type 1, like my daughter had. She was calling to get advice, to hear my story, and to talk about the scary stuff from one SMA mom to another. I was still in the paper work of filing for the 501c3 status for Love Not Lost, but mentioned it to her before we hung up.
Needless to say, I was thrilled to see her application come through! Not only was I excited to meet them, but I was surprised in the best way possible that they were able to get on a drug trial that helps fight SMA. It's not a cure, but the difference it makes is something I would call miraculous. The drug is now FDA approved, which is important, not just for other SMA kids, but for the child Alyssa is carrying as well.
Alyssa and her husband have a healthy son, a daughter with SMA, and a third child on the way who will also have SMA. Their family mantra comes from the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation - Never Give Up.
We were happy to have extended family join us for the shoot and captured some really fun memories playing and laughing together. We hope these photos of love and joy bring some encouragement to your day.
When you are overwhelmed, exhausted, and feel like you just can't take any more, we hope you remember this family. We hope you remember Texas. We hope you never give up.