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Life doesn’t teach you the lessons you need to learn through softness. It’s not the moments of pure joy that create who we are, but the dark, grueling moments of pain.

When I lost my home in a house fire on November 8th, it was really hard to not just feel sorry for myself and my family. Walking up to my home with fire trucks surrounding it and that horrible black smoke coming out of the windows is a sight I will never be able to forget. Not knowing if all the animals would be getting out alive, not knowing what started it… so much chaos and not knowing. It’s really easy to get lost in the sadness while digging through the remains of family heirlooms.

Thank you to the Manteca Fire Dept for getting all of my fur babies out

After the dust has now settled and I am sitting in our new rental with my pets snoring beside me who made it out safe, I can see past the sadness now and see what this tragedy has taught me. The lessons I learned came at a great cost, but like most of the tough things, we have to learn I’m grateful to be here now.

I learned through a massive outpouring of love in my family and I’s direction that we are never as alone as we feel. People who I never even imagined I would see again showed up to help us dig through our belongings trying to find sentimental pieces that survived. Donations came in from all over to help us get by while we waiting for insurance to come around. People helped me even clean up my dogs! The kindness that humans are capable of has blown me away and the amount of gratitude that I feel is something I cannot even put into words.

I also learned that I am capable of more than I give myself credit for. While a lot of things fell through the cracks in the last month, I was able to somehow not totally lose track of myself and my business for too long. It’s hard not to get tunnel vision in tragedy and remember that there is a whole beautiful life you still need to live outside of it. Also through this lesson, I learned that people are far more patient and understanding than I ever imagined.

There were several times in the last month that I didn’t show my best side. I let the emotions overtake me. This gave me a lesson in forgiving myself. And in forgiving others for being unable to keep it together.

One of the most important things I learned though is that it is all just stuff. The house, the belongings… none of it matters in the end because what matters is that every person and animal that was in the house that afternoon is safe. They are breathing and alive and they get to have another day. I learned nothing is guaranteed so I really need to do what I can to cherish and appreciate these people in my life that I love.

2020 is on its way and while it sounds so strange to say it… I have an incredible feeling about how it’s going to go for my personal, family, and business life. From the (literal) ashes it is time to rise and I think life is about to get better than ever.

Take care of yourselves and each other xo Thank you so much to everyone who has reached out. Your generosity and love have changed my life.

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Northern California Wedding + Portrait photographer who loves animals, outdoors, cowboy boots, adventures and making art for incredible humans.

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