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Colorado Springs, Ponderosa Camp - January 2022

This has been a really hard blog post to write and hard pictures to edit....

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the photos and how they turned out. I love that I got to explore Colorado and lead worship for the youth at camp there. I love that it would randomly snow. I loved taking model pictures of the fellas in the band. I love that Josh never minds at all when I boss him around on where he needs to stand or what he needs to crop every time I have an idea for how I want my portraits taken!! Bless that man for his patience with me and always being willing to do whatever it takes to make my visions happen.

But halfway through this trip, my mom called and let me know that Nana had died.

Nana has been one of the most instrumental people in my entire life.... So I knew that I would play no small role in making sure she was remembered well as we gathered to celebrate her life. So my mom asked me if I'd prepare something to say at the funeral and if I could sing for the funeral because Paw Paw really wanted me to. She also asked if I could share the news on social media so that she wouldn't have to come up with those words...

So, as I look through these photos, it is really hard to know how to feel..... I mean, I LOVED this trip!! I've always wanted to visit and explore this state and I'll never forget how grateful I felt to be there.

But then I look at the photos of myself in this white dress and remember how I also cried myself to sleep that night... Or the day at the Paint Mines was the same day I prepared the speech I would give at Nana's funeral. Or the pure bliss I felt in these first snow photos when I no idea of what news I'd hear on Wednesday.

But when the trip was over and we were all gathered around the gravesite tent in North Carolina, we all held Nana's portrait in our hands. It looked like it was taken while she was in her early 20's.. She was so beautiful.

I looked at it with tears because I had such a renewed sense of purpose when I realized the power and sentiment of that photograph. What a gift photography is!! So, even though I have dragged my feet to get these photos done and to process all the pain that I experienced the days they were taken, I realized that I never want to forget this week.

Nana was one of the only reasons I pursued the things I love. She's the reason I was on this trip leading worship and taking photos for people. I learned that there is a way to steward death and it is by celebrating life and spurring on the living to live a life worth celebrating. I never want to forget anything about Colorado 2022.

I was amazed at the mountain range every time we drove through Colorado Springs to get coffee....

So one evening we went to document the sunset!

The next progression of photos happened the next morning at sunrise. The moon just happened to be setting over the mountains while the sun rose behind us! It was gorgeous!!

This was our first day at Garden of the Gods and this was the night Nana passed away.

One of our last days we went to the Paint Mines and it was absolutely FREEZING...

I told the boys to go on ahead without me so I could walk this trail alone and take a few moments to myself.

I've never lost someone close to me, so to process the loss in very close quarters and with new friends was a challenge. How do you keep up the adventurer spirit and not bring everyone down?

Whenever we had long drives back to the Springs, I'd just look out the window and cry because it was one of those few moments where I didn't have to engage or be "on."

Then we visited Red Rocks Amphitheater, and as you can imagine, it was ALSO freezing!

I was just so happy that we got to see it in the snow.

We visited Garden of the Gods a few separate times because the park was huge! We kept finding such cool places to get photos... Luckily, the fellas would climb whatever rock I told them to... Or they'd so graciously help me climb them for shots like this.... And the guys ENJOYED pictures, (PRAISE THE LORD) so I didn't feel toooo bad scouting out cool spots every five minutes.

Daniel always preferred his poses over the ones I instructed...

Which obviously made the editing portion that much more fun!


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