amy | breathing me to life

It's no secret I struggle with seasons of deep and paralyzing depression.  Whether it's in my genes or caused by my sensitive soul, who knows.  There are seasons of life that feel like walking through mud to get through.  

I'm a lucky girl to be surrounded by amazing people that champion me on and who tell me "You're doing your best!  Don't be so hard on yourself!  Give yourself grace."

One evening I left my chaotic home to slip away to a girls night at a local restaurant and I showed up frumpy, hair unbrushed and thrown in a bun and an aching heart.  

That's when Amy saw me.  

Amy is a friend of friends that I knew casually and who happened to be sitting at the other end of the table on this particular night.  Somewhere at the end of the evening when many had trickled back to their homes, I just burst into tears and said, "I just suck at life."  Many hands touched my back and comforted me and told me "No you don't, Helen Joy.  We love you."  

But Amy looked at me and saw me and in a beautiful confidence she said, "I will help you."  

We decided to do a trade.  Pictures for coaching sessions.  

The first day she came we sat on cushions on my messy living room floor, we walked through the kitchen with left out peanut butter and jelly and crusts left over from the school morning rush. We sat on those cushions and I cried and Amy listened.  Then came her first,life giving breathe.  She said "I believe you can be better."  Said so lovingly and compassionately, not discounting the work ahead.  She did not clip my wings and say, "Be thankful!  You're doing the best you can!"    

She heard my longing and she gave weight to it.  

I told her the silly longings that seemed so out of reach and she didn't blink.  She said, "Why not?!"  She didn't flood me with cheesy quotes about motivation or steps to achieve my goals.  Every week she came to my messy home and sat with me and listened and she gently lifted me to the sky.

It started with little things like finding shoes the night before and packing lunches in the evening.  Things that come easily for most people but to me seem like mt everest.  She came over one day and stood in my laundry room with clothes up to our waists and we sweated and worked for hours and found a system that works well for ME.  

Little by little tiny bricks have fallen into place and I feel more and more comfortable in my own skin and in my own home.  It's like a ripple has started and I don't even know where it will reach.

This doesn't tie up in a bow.  I still struggle getting out of bed in the mornings, my laundry room is up to my knees because I've been editing this week but I am not paralyzed by it.  

Amy, these pictures show just a hint of your genuine warmth and the love you so beautifully give.  

Thank you for seeing me.  

To contact Amy, go to www.amybracken.life

my little darling | portraits of a curious soul

Born the baby of 5 girls, I will never forget the day I found out about you.  We were all sat up on the bed in an Arizona motel like little stair steps and one by one our parents relayed how blessed they were by each of us, and then then finished and we all looked at the blank piece of bed and knew a new baby would be there soon.  And we all cried bad tears.  Oh but you were oh so very needed.  You were born into a time of extreme turmoil and pain in our lives and you my darling sister could have very well been burnt up in the fire but you have instead come out a diamond.

Your sweetness and love for those around you is a beautiful thing to behold.  You choose to smile even when things aren't worth smiling about.  You are a scrappy little thing, always proving that you belong with the big sisters.

Senior portraits are always a little hokey to me.  Awkward and forced and in limbo...just like that time of life is.  But I knew it wouldn't be like that with you.  Your curious little soul shone so bright and your eyes sparkled with a genuine, unforced love of life.  Feminine but so very brave.

I love you.

My heart bursts with pride of you, my little darling.

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