I'm not sure how to find the words to express what needs to be said to best portray this story.
I met the Leatherman family while still baking at BREW and Matt and I became fast friends. It was a no brainer when he asked me to shoot a few family portraits for them and their extended families.
I fell in love with them, however, when they took me to their grandparent's farm that had to be sold for new development in the area. They all spoke so highly of growing up there and the rich history within the walls and out in the pastures. (It reminded me of where I grew up in the mountains).
Several photo shoots later I found out their beloved grandfather had passed and they wanted to use the images for the memorial service; I was grateful then for the chance to have met him once and to see the incredible legacy he had left. I maintain to this day they are the most adorable grandparents I've ever had the pleasure of shooting.
What we couldn't have anticipated at that same time was Matt and Keisha's second daughter, Josie, to be born pre-maturely placing her on constant watch in the hospital for the past five months. She has been through some seriously life threatening traumas as well as broken bones. To watch helplessly the agony Matt and Keisha had to experience during this time was extremely hard, and I can only imagine one hundred fold for their tight-knit family.
They asked me to paint one of my dancers for her while she was in the middle of the battle and the process nearly wrecked me. She has inspired so many with her strength, and Matt and Keisha have with their endurance and determination to see her through. They are the strongest family I've ever known.
When Matt texted me this morning to say she was coming home, I was so overjoyed for them! It's going to be a long year filled with doctor visits, but I know they will persevere. I am so honored to have had the opportunity to capture these first few moments at home. They wanted to surprise little Maya, and they couldn't have asked for a better reaction. She just said over and over, "my sister is at my house!"
Little Josie you are more loved than you could ever possibly comprehend. The team that surrounds you will see you through anything that lies ahead and I know you will inspire us all along the way. Grateful to be a small part of your big life.