So here I am in big scary cyber world! I have put a lot of of pressure on myself the last few months as I have been redoing this blog that the first post needed to be amazing! So amazing, it would grip you and you would want to read every post afterwards. The truth is it’s not and most posts won’t. I am no writer but my story is gripping enough to hopefully cover where my writing falls short. This blog represents me finally finding my VOICE something that has literally taken decades to do and I can’t 100% say I am there, but I am ready. I am ready to share with the world my story, God’s story, the incredible work he has done in my family, the experience and hard topics I have come across working with vulnerable children for the past almost 20 years and of course pretty pictures 🙂
One of the biggest losses in a foster child’s life is their voice! And I believe that can be said about any person who has experienced abuse or neglect. This week on Facebook a foster care magazine posted this question, “Because I was in foster care I can……” one of the responses was from a grown man who said, “Can enter a room and never be noticed.” Y’all he said it, right there hit the nail on the head. You become invisible, unnoticed, it’s how you survive. It’s the feeling of standing in a room screaming but no one hears you. It’s the feeling of standing on the side of the road bleeding and beaten desperately needing help but cars keep passing you. Sometimes cars of people you know and love, people who have said they love you, but they just keep on driving only a few even brave enough to make eye contact. Along this road I too lost my voice. The fear of rejection and how possibly people would view or treat me has kept me from sharing one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me. I hated the uncomfortable look I would get sometimes as I would share with people. I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, sometimes people have even cried and I sure as heck didn’t want that! The look of shock, or even empathy, then how would they judge me now? Some people have thought less of me and some more, I didn’t want either I just want to be me. But all along that was ME, my story is me and to truly know me is to know and understand my story and how God has transformed a girl no one wanted into His precious daughter. So come along with me as I have finally found my voice, be encouraged, be challenged and if you have lost your voice I hope you break those chains off and embrace this beautiful gift of a voice that we have all been given!
THREE things to help someone find their voice:
- LISTEN: I know it sounds simple, but yes just listen. Really hear and respect what they have to say. Ask them about their story. Even if the first few times they say they don’t want to talk about it keep asking. When stories find the light, freedom can finally be released.
- Speak For Them: Advocate, advocate, advocate. Fight for the ones who have lost their voice and can’t fight for themselves right now.
- Encourage Them: Build them up in a way that they feel safe. Encourage them to be open to opportunities to use their voice. Assure them how important their experience is to the rest of us.
It’s been almost a year since I last blogged! Yicks, I guess I have a lot to say but sometimes just struggle with what to write! Nichole Alexandra Photography had a wonderful year in 2012 the best yet, thanks to all my awesome clients! I made some big changes by specializing in High School Seniors, Maternity & Newborns! That was a huge move but the right one for me, I do occasionally do other things during my slow season, but for the most part my focus has been on those three subjects. That choice has made me a better and happier photographer:)
As I reflect on the last 12 months I have to share something that has been on my heart, and is also the reason I love photography. About a year ago I lost my mother, then less than 2 months later I lost someone who was not only like a mother to me but one of my best friends. I have never lost anyone close to me, before this I had only been to one funeral my whole life to support a friend. So this was something so completely new to me. Death is awful, losing a loved one just plain sucks! The pain, the mourning, suffering in silence while the rest of the world moves on. There’s no way to really describe it unless you have been through it. But I can tell you one thing, those precious pictures I had became everything to me. When all I had left were memories, being able to look at a smile or moment we had together brought the comfort I needed.
I love that photography, beautiful images give back way more than you could have ever expected. So when the question arises of why should you have portraits made, why should you take pictures and make that a priority? The answer is Because You Can! I’m not saying go run out, go into debt and hire the most expensive photographer you can, I don’t care if you go in your back yard with your iphone. Just DO IT! Actually what I always recommend is to hire the best photographer you can afford, and yes for a special occasion memory or every few years when your family is really changing splurge/save up and hire someone over the top! You won’t regret it 🙂 But for all those in between times just do it, take the time to document the ones you love, and mom’s that means you need to be in the pictures too! If you have someone who loves you, savor it, grab a hold of it and capture it. Life changes so quickly. Children grow up, people die, relationships change. But when they do and all you have left is that memory, it is absolutely amazing to be able to get lost in a picture that takes you back to that time. Here are some of my favorite images from the last 12 months. My hope for each one is that one day my clients will look at these and if even for a moment be taken back to the feelings they had with the ones they love!
The 1st one is my family portrait from last year by the amazing Heather Byrd! Words can’t express how much I LOVE this picture, or how much it means to me. Each one of these tells a story to me. A dad playing airplane w/ his little boy. Little brother curious about his 1st sibling in his mama’s belly. 1st time parents madly in love and thrilled about what they created! A sweet newborn being able to wear a gown passed down for generations. A young engaged couple, silly & sweet full of life 🙂 A High School senior with her parents the last family portrait as a “child” before she’s off to college to grow up. All of them so priceless!
Where the heck has Nichole been?
I’m so sorry to the people who still read this blog! I have been MIA & the blog has suffered 🙁 If you are truly interested in keeping up with my work & what’s going on w/ NAP then my Facebook page is the place to find me! And feel free to comment, ask questions ect. cause I love it:) If not it seems I am just really talking to myself on there, LOL So I know a lot of people have asked where I have been, have I quit, run away to some far away destination?? NOPE! I have been crazy busy working on ME! These pictures & this blog post are over 2 years in the making, and I just couldn’t be more excited to finally post them. Here’s a little glimpse into my soul, why I have been so busy & why my poor little blog has gone on the back burner……….
Over 2 years ago I found myself drowning in the sea of life, it’s hard to explain but life really just had gotten the better of me! As one of my dear friends would say, “Nichole if it weren’t for bad luck you would have no luck at all”. Ah, yes indeed that was true, or so I thought. Here I was in my 20’s w/ a failing business, about to celebrate my 9 year anniversary & knee deep in debt. I had 2 young kids both of which had some sort of special need. My husband had just hit his one year mark of being unemployed, and we were one month from being completely out of our life savings, even after having to sell our dream home, car, and pretty much anything that was worth money! I was watching the last 10 years of the life that I had worked so hard to build completely fall apart including what meant most to me my marriage! I had a lot of pain & I ate every ounce of it! I hated me, I hated who I had become, & I hated who I wasn’t. I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs w/out being seriously winded & then needing sleeping pills just to end the day!
I realized something drastic needed to be done or I was going to lose it all & I realized the change had to start w/ me! Someone once told me it takes two to make a relationship work but only ONE to mess it up, and I was about to be that ONE! So I went on a journey to find myself, to heal my past hurts & to prove to the world that this was not how it was supposed to be. I realized that my God didn’t sacrifice His son for me live this crap mediocre life anymore! It wasn’t easy by any means, but if anyone knows me they know not only am I a survivor I am one strong willed fighter. As the pounds came off so did the issues that caused them. And in the midst of it all God taught me that “PAIN = POWER”! Wow, what an incredible concept right? Today I am writing to you as a new person inside & out. I am 100 pounds thinner completely medication FREE, but most importantly I am whole again. I made it through the storm w/out drowning, and I can finally walk on that water! This year my soul mate & me will celebrate 12 years and we are happier than we have EVER been. My boys are thriving, along with my business. My husband has his dream job, & we live in the most fantastic place on earth! I know not everyone makes it out of the storm, or their results maybe be different but I realized I have pretty good luck after all! So no matter what you are going through or what your goal is don’t let life win. Stare it in the face & you tell it to “suck it” & turn that “Pain into Power”!
* A special thanks to my favorite chubby buddies, the Blue team & all my supportive friends & lovies:)
Blog Templates By Alison at Happy Girl Design
After Images By Heather Byrd at Infinity Images
NA Photography’s 1st ever huge casting call! I am planning a huge shoot to get new images for my all new awesome Senior Line and a special non-profit project I am working on! So if you love FREE, love being in front of the camera and looks youthful, e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a business interested in donating items for use such as props, prom wear, accessories, ect. please e-mail me as well to discuss all the details. So far we have an awesome day packed with 2 photographers, make-up, hair and of course some yummy food!
Ok so I admit it, I’m a total workshop junkie!!! One of the BEST parts of being a photographer is of course all the cool stuff you get to buy, but also all the awesome places you get to go! Attending workshops, classes & conferences are very important to me and my business. I feel like it’s one of the things that sets me apart. When you hire me you can be confident that I am investing time & money, as well as working my hardest to stay educated in my field. Whether it’s researching new hot products like I did in Vegas this year at WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographers International) or learning new awesome lighting techniques with Blair Phillips Photography in Landis, NC! It’s like going to see your hair stylist, you wouldn’t want them to be looking online to get their education when cutting your hair or how to do a new style. I’ve ended up with some bad mullets and I have to wonder why:)~ I would much rather have a stylist who learned from the best and who continues to stay up with the trends! You should expect no less from your photographer!
I am very fortunate that I have an awesome husband who secretly enjoys when I go out of town so he can organize his baseball cards, and kids who can run wild and eat nothing but pop tarts and McD’s while I’m gone 🙂 Plus I have the best travel partner ever Heather from Infinity Images. We met a few years ago online and we’ve been hitting the road ever since!!! Here’s a few images from some of my favorite workshops & one really bad mullet!…. or as my hubby said it was mullet meets Tina Turner! :)~
Why are the worst haircuts when you are pregnant!
(Image taken by the talented Joyce Smith) Me & the fabulous Cheryl Muhr! Heather & Me w/ Blair & Suzanne Phillips