April 12, 2015

Below the surface | Life & Business

For a while now I have wanted to start blogging just wasn’t sure where or how, so please bear with me as this learning curve is about to begin! And it only feels right to start with the question I am often asked, “What lead you to become a photographer?” My answer is very simple: Trevor! Although my answer is simple, the story behind the answer is a bit more complicated. My business grew because of life events so my life is my business story too!
One reason for sharing is for my clients to know who they are hiring, to know the woman behind the camera, to know more than my name and that I like taking pictures. Two…I believe telling my story will bring me healing & hopefully I can reach another {even just one} person that can find strength through my story they are not alone in their journey. I want you to know why I enjoy picking up my camera, why I have such a passion to capture everyday moments & milestones!

image-1-2I am married to a wonderful man, Jason, for almost 7 years now! Wow, time flies when your having fun!!  He loves fishing, hunting, fishing, taking a stroll down the river in his boat (which I call the other woman in his life, HA!!), and fishing….you get the point, the man loves fishing!! We all need some form outlet in our lives that brings us peace and allows us to slip away from the heaviness of life at times. This is why I am glad to have photography in my life and he has fishing!  He is such a loving man with a big heart (which he tries to hide under that manly exterior) but he’s not fooling me!  Married life was picture perfect for us as we began our life together…fixing up an old farmhouse into our home, finding a place in our careers, life was great! Then the saying goes “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage!”

Let me introduce my first little love, my first born, my baby boy…Trevor! We were in pure amazement with our little boy. Life was great and our hearts were full! Growing up with a sister, nothing prepared me for having a boy! Boy, oh boy can they make a mess and get into things you didn’t think possible! I LOVE it!!! That is when I ask Jason for my first camera to capture all the milestones. Trevor constantly had a camera in his face, whether he was playing, eating, sleeping (I just love a sleeping baby ☺), visiting a park or zoo…no matter how big or small the moment, I was capturing memories!! I was even teased that he didn’t know what it was like not to have a camera in his face…but that’s ok! After 2 years of so much love and fun with our little man, we decided he needed a sibling to help plot against us…I mean 2 against 2 is only fair, right?! Again the whole, are we crazy for doing this mentality set in…but we knew it would all work out, just have faith in ourselves, we could do this! We found out shortly after Trevor’s 2nd birthday we would be adding more love to our family!

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Then life changed forever as we knew it….Trevor got sick. At first it was the thought of a virus just going over and over, not wanting to give our little man a break. In and out of the pediatrician’s office more times that I can count. The fevers were relentless! After 3 extended stays in the hospital and no answers, Trevor was admitted for extensive testing and procedures. Our poor little buddy became a pro a giving blood and testing in those huge scary machines that us as adults cringe at…but he was a trooper! Nothing could have prepared us for those 9 weeks of life. Things went from bad to worse overnight…literally! When the Chaplain accompanies the Doctor to talk with you…no good news is coming. You drop to your knees and pray, through the tears, through the anger, through the unknown…you pray!  We became residents of the hospital; leaving our tiny toddler in that huge place alone was not an option. Life seemed to stop beyond the 4 walls of the room we were in. People came and left, but one thing was constant…Jason, Trevor, myself, and my baby bump were prisoners of that hospital.  I never gave up hope for my little man to return to the rambunctious boy I knew, but God had a different plan and called Trevor Home at 2 1/2 years old. Trevor’s illness was a result of a genetic condition discovered too late to save his life, but it would prove Trevor was an even bigger Hero that we could imagine!! The weeks following Jason & I went through the motions of life while figuring out our “new” life. Faith & family…that’s what we needed to survive and they were there fighting strong to keep our heads up!!

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Five weeks after losing Trevor, we welcomed our second bundle of joy into the world, Hunter! Talk about life’s roller coaster!! Emotions still flooded our lives but this little boy brought us much needed happiness! A mere 12 days old, we were told our new little love carried the same gene as his big brother. Now here I could have decided to be mad at the world & turned bitter but I refused too! Instead I realized how much of an amazing son & brother Trevor was…he gave his life to save his baby brother Hunter! He is my hero!! Did it mean life was going to be easy? No. But we knew what we were dealing with and that was a huge step ahead! As parents, we think of ourselves as the teacher, the ones with the knowledge, but I stand corrected! Trevor taught me more about life in his short time here than I could have ever dreamed possible….life is precious, life is a gift, life is short…so love and live life to the fullest!

Do I have good days? Yes I most certainly do!!  Do I have bad days? Yes, of course, I’d be lying if I said differently.  My life changed, I am a different person than I was before losing Trevor, but through my faith I choose to live in the sunshine! I choose to be the mother Hunter needs and not a shell of who I once was. I refuse to be bitter at the world because I know there is more to live for. When I am weak and my eyes swell with tears, I whisper for Trevor to hold me & it never fails I feel a sense of peace come over me and I can breath again. My little buddy will always be by my side even if I can’t see him I feel his presence! I love it when we leave a room, all is quiet then a favorite toy of Trevor’s will tune up… I simply smile & say, “I love you Trevor!” Life will continue around me & I will continue walk forward to find the brightness, the happiness, & the warmth of life!!

That my friend’s is why I took my love for photography to a deeper level!  For the love of my children &  truly cherishing what a photo has to offer.  We live on through our photos, giving our loved ones a way to look back, giving us a way to relive the moment and cherish memories. Pictures are truly priceless!! I look forward to sharing my passion with you, capturing milestones in your life & the just as important everyday moments!!

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  1. Jen

    April 13th, 2015 at 12:26 am

    Oh Erica – I have never met you, but this pulls at my heart for you and your family. I don’t have any of my own children yet (just four legged fur babies), but this just overwhelms me with empathy for your loss and amazement at the silver lining you found in that loss. This is so eloquently written and so honest. Thank you for sharing your experience – no matter how hard and sad it has been. I am so happy that you all have been able to welcome a 2nd bundle of joy into your life and that his big brother truly is a hero and helping to save lives. Sending you warm wishes and prayers! <3 <3

  2. April

    April 13th, 2015 at 3:29 am

    Just beautiful Erica!

  3. Amanda Hedgepeth

    April 13th, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Erica, I am sitting here with yesterday’s makeup, a horrible case of bedhead and in my pink robe just BAWLING. I am so so so glad you did this. GOOD FOR YOU!!!! This is what the HEART of your business is about, this is what began it all and you are sharing your most precious memories and hardest time with people…that makes you a genuine and incredible person! THANK YOU FOR SHARING!!!!!!!! 🙂

  4. Cindy Santerre

    April 13th, 2015 at 12:04 am

    You never cease to amaze me Baby Girl! I love you all and now I have to go get some tissues!!!

  5. Alison Snead

    April 13th, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    There is so much beauty within you Erica. You have an amazing heart with such strong faith. You are THE strongest woman I know, and I think of you so much in life’s tough times. Even having heard this story before, it broke my heart all over again and the tears just flowed…Your story is going to change lives, as it has already changed mine. Keep your head up, and keep on loving your family with all you have, because the love you have shines so incredibly bright!

  6. Allyson Boop

    April 13th, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is inspiring, and you truly are an amazing person and mom!! Keep doing what you are doing because it touches so many people. =)

  7. Brittany Wiggins

    April 13th, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    My dear college roomie this was simply beautiful! I have no words (im emotional

  8. sharon elizabeth

    April 13th, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    so many hugs to you and yours…. –crying–

  9. Wanda Taylor

    April 14th, 2015 at 3:06 am

    Erica, I was working with your Mother in law when you, Jason and family was with Trevor during his illness, I could not believe how strong your little man was and what a little trooper. What precious memories your love for photography has provided for you and the family, and what a wonderful way to keep Trevor and Hunter together sharing memories and pictures of his brother.. My prayers are always with you and I admire the strength you, Jason and the family has shown. Continue your wonderful work as a photographer and create many memories for now and years to come. Your message above needs to be turned into a book and dedicated to Little Trevor.. I have trouble sitting still long enough to read anything for any length of time. I could not stop reading your message…WRITE YOUR STORY in length., and share. Thank you. Wanda

  10. Donna Smith

    April 14th, 2015 at 11:10 am

    This was an amazingly beautiful and well written story Erica and I thank you for sharing it with all of us. I know this had to be so hard for you to do. After reading it, I immediately wondered where in the world you got the strength to do this. Then, I answered my own question. It came from God! He works in mysterious ways! He had a special plan for your little Trevor.
    I have been admiring your work for a while now. You have the ability to capture every detail of the special moments in your photos. You have been given such a wonderful gift! Many wonderful gifts! I look forward to reading your next posts. Now, go grab your camera!

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