NUMBER 18

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I learned in 2007 that nothing comes as a coincidence.Some people may enter our lives in odd ways but it is intentional, and they often leave you with a significant mark on your outlook.ELLEN has left a tattoo.

Our good friend, Dick Wolfsie, thankfully introduced us to Ellen.Ellen is a sick young woman with an extraordinary story.She not only battles with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) but also Chron’s Disease, and Idiopathic Gastroperesis (among other ailments for which I am sure).She has a gastric pacemaker, has lost most of her vision, and at one point last Fall was given three weeks to live.

So…how did we get this incredible opportunity to photograph Ellen and her rock-of-a-husband, Kent, on an almost-Spring day?How does she look so beautiful?How is her smile so wide, her eyes gleaming?Ellen’s answer to Dick was…”My face isn’t sick!My insides are.”

However, after getting to know Ellen and Kent, I can tell you their story just doesn’t end with failing health.Considering our profession, I was most intrigued by how as newlyweds they have faced some of the darkest moments of their lives.Because after spending nearly 60 days in the hospital, Kent was laid off from his job.They are both now unemployed and face significant costs.However, they seem peaceful.They are pragmatic, educated, organized, and very positive.They also like each other quite well.

Ellen doesn’t venture to the movies often but was intrigued by the recent movie release with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman called the Bucket List.She figured she might as well develop her own.Dick got a hold of her list and figured we might be able to fulfill #18…”Have a session with a really good photographer.”

We learned that Ellen and Kent were married in a very small service in her parent’s living room without the typical hoopla of most weddings, including a photographer.They have only a handful of pictures during the entire relationship.The one picture they have hanging in their home from their wedding, everyone is looking in a different direction.

We were delighted to make this Bucket List item come to fruition.One of my favorite comments of the evening was when Ellen said to Kent softly, “This is better than having a photographer on our wedding day because I actually will always remember this.”

I especially want to thank our fantastic friend and makeup artist, Michelle Hage, for giving of her time and artistic abilities even when her husband was admitted to the hospital just few minutes before our session began.Jane from Plum’s Upper Room for letting us spend a beautiful evening together.And, most of all, Dick for helping us complete #18.

I have not been able to nearly capture the depth of Ellen’s story. I encourage you to read more on her blog. She is extremely active in educating others on Multiple Sclerosis and has touched thousands of people…even major Hollywood celebrities. An “Ellenpalooza” is being held on April 12th to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis. If I get more information on this event I will share it. In the meantime, enjoy!

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