Archive for Nov 2012

November 10, 2012 Darcy and Cassie

Darcy and Cassie had a gorgeous Fall wedding – it called for rain but it held off long enough to get some amazing skies and beautiful images. I love Fall weddings so much! Cassie had planned out every detail so thoroughly – wait until you see all these great touches!

Katie was assisting me that day and started with the guys – when she pulled up she could hear “banging”. Turns out the guys were relaxing shooting out back at Darcy’s parents farm. Fortunately they clean up well!

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Darcy and Cassie’s son Carson had so much fun getting muddy! Loved it! Watch his reaction to getting dolled up though.

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Meanwhile I was back with the girls – loving all the red!

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Darcy and Cassie’s daughter Callie was so sweet!

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And here she is with her cousin – only two weeks apart!

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Time for Cassie to get ready! So beautiful!

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So glad the weather held out – the ceremony spot was gorgeous!

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Carson was so sweet!

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Loved the reception decor – and the favour was a masquerade mask as it was just days before Halloween. So fun!

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If you follow my blog you may recognize these two… Cassie is Laura (Meera’s mom) cousin. So it was so fun for me to see Meera and the gang having fun!

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Love Cassie’s grandpa inspecting her ring. icon smile Darcy and Cassie

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Such a fun party!

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Celebrating life and love,


November 10, 2012 I Am Just One

When I went to Uganda in June, it was a dream come true. I have always wanted to go to Africa – to see first hand all that I have read about for years. I saw and learned so much. When I came home I kept wondering what I could do to help on an ongoing basis. The thought that I had packed up and came home – but that the people I had met who were struggling in disease, poverty and hard times were still there struggling… it just didn’t sit well. What could I do to help?

If you’ve been following my blog you may know some of this story… but I’ll share anyhow.

Back in 2011 I started to pray that God would use my camera to offer hope and do more. To make a difference.

In December 2011, while photographing at the Ronald McDonald House I met Meera. I fell in love and asked if I could photograph her once a month. And you’ve all seen how that has gone – the world has fallen in love with this little monkey as we’ve journeyed with her through the good and bad.

A friend notified me about a photo contest by Watoto to win a trip to Uganda alongside some National Post photographers who would be mentoring us. I figured there was no way that I’d win – but I entered an image of Meera, and an image from an orphanage in El Salvador I was at in January 2012. I was shocked to win – and to be off to Uganda in June. The photographers from the Post shared that it was that image of Meera that really tugged their hearts and let me win. Again I saw how my prayer to use my camera was being answered.

I went to Uganda… and when I came home I wore the necklace I bought there as a souvenier. Everywhere I went people asked me where they could get one – and so I put on my website asking if anyone else would like to purchase one with funds going back to Living Hope. In two weeks we sold over 200 necklaces!

And then the waiting list started as more and more people wanted necklaces.

And I saw again this little prayer being answered.

On November 1, my good friend Sarah and I launched “JustOne” – world changing fashion. The idea is I am just one person… but I can make a difference. We sell the handmade items from women around the world, and help support them long term. It is also about raising advocates for women across the globe.

And now today, November 10, the next crazy, unbelievable part of our journey is here. Sarah and I are leaving tonight to go back to Uganda. And then to Kenya. And lastly to South Africa. We are going to make connections for JustOne, to purchase new items, and to document the needs and how they are being met by the organizations we support.

If one year ago you would have told me that I would have a new group of people (Meera’s family) that are now a part of my family, and that I would have traveled to Africa twice… I would have thought you were insane. God has a good sense of humour.

We will be blogging as internet allows on our JustOne blog. Please check it out!

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Celebrating life and love,


November 8, 2012 Meera: November

(Meera is a beautiful 2year old with cancer that I am photographing once a month for a year. You can see more about her here: December, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, part one of September and part two, October part one, part two and her story in her mom’s words.)

Last month, I shared how Meera had to have a painful, life saving, face altering surgery. Surgery day was yesterday. I couldn’t make it up yesterday, but was glad it worked out to see the family at Sick Kids today.

I’ll be honest – as Laura so candidly is…. it’s tough on the family. As they wrestle with a daughter that doesn’t look now like the daughter they’ve known for the last 3years. Yes – it will potentially save her life, can be reconstructed (after chemo) and is only on the surface… but let’s be honest, it’s tough.

When I walked in the room I had prepared myself for a shock – but I didn’t really face one. Actually – what surprised me most was how little and fragile she looked. Sometimes I forget how little and young Miss Meera is as she is forced to be wise beyond her years. Meera is still on a high dose of morphine so was sleeping the majority of the time – and when she wasn’t, she was groggy.

Meera’s family has asked to not post photos of her face yet as they are still adjusting to the changes. I was able to capture something more beautiful than any face though. True love. Courage. Compassion. Things no surgeon can take away. No disease can rob.

This family’s love and strength is always an inspiration to me and to many.

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Laura’s dad and mom were both there which was great!

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Bravery beads are beads that are given individually each time a “procedure” or something happens at the hospital. Being admitted. Surgery. Bloodwork. Scans. etc. Meera’s family counted over 600 beads. That’s almost a bead a day since this nightmare began.

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ANd Miss Ameena also needs love and attention – so nice Laura’s mom was able to be there to offer a much needed hand! Poor Laura has one girl who’s had major surgery crying for cuddles from mom, and one girl who’s crying to be nursed and loved by mom.

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Meera – I love you. Your personality can’t be contained by any face. You have something far more beautiful than can be defined by a nose or mouth.

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From here… Meera will likely have some reconstructive surgery after her chemo – or there was talk she might have to wait a few years. Time will tell!

I must add a personal note at the end. I have been blown away by the incredible support of friends, family and even perfect strangers to this family. Every day on Facebook or Twitter I see someone else donating a portion of sales, or an auction or other creative ways to do something special for them. I’ll just highlight one special group.

A recent bride I photographed, had a friend over and was showing to him her photos on my website… which lead to her telling him about Meera. Like everyone – he was moved and wanted to do something. He is a musical theatre student at Sheridan College – and got the guys in his college program to donate their Mo’vember funds to Meera’s family. They call themselves “The Knights of Princess Meera” (look them up on Facebook!). Then the female students chimed in they wanted to participate too! And some of them are going makeup free and there was even talks of drawing on moustaches… to raise support of Meera. A group of college students, who have never met this young girl are sharing her story through social media and sending her love daily. Overnight the group seemed to go from zero to almost 400. Incredible.

If you are interested in donating to support Meera and her family you can do so HERE.

Celebrating life and love,


November 6, 2012 Double Double

A few years ago, I met identical twin sisters when they were bridesmaids in a wedding I photographed. Then, last year I had the honour of documenting Martha’s wedding – with Monica as her maid of honour. These two sisters are so incredibly close! Imagine how thrilled I was to receive an email that they BOTH are expecting their first baby! It was so fun to meet up with Martha & Jared (due in November), and Monica & James (due in early January) and see their bellies! These two couples are so close – living within a block and often getting together for games and fun. And now sharing one of life’s biggest adventures together – parenthood!

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I am not a studio photographer – but Monica is into photography and has a great home studio in her basement – so I had to try it out!

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And then I got to see James’ man cave – wow! The room is every guy’s dream!

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So excited to see the cousins who will no doubt be BFF’s for life!

Celebrating life and love,


November 6, 2012 Follow Your Dreams

I love when people go off on an adventure and the result is completely unknown. That’s true adventure.

Recently I met up with Alison – a friend I haven’t seen in years. She is heading to live in England and serve with Operation Mobilisation. She’ll be there for at least one year. This is such an exciting time in life for her!

I was happy to snap a few photos of this lovely gal for her newsletters and such. Her eyes just sparkle – she’s gorgeous! Can’t wait to keep up to date with all her adventures in England!

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Celebrating life and love,