Monday, May 9, 2011

Women Mini Session: Shannan

Meet Shannan

  Shannan is seriously one of the strongest women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Over the past year I have gotten to know her on a much deeper level and let me just tell you she is amazing. Shannan is extremely crafty and creative and has some serious scrap booking talent! You can check out her blog here! Shannan is so much fun to be around - she just makes everything fun - she is also one of those "tell ya like it is" type of people - which I LOVE!
Shannan did the Women Only Mini with her sister, Shelley - I absolutely love these girls! This photo makes me emotional every time I see it - I just think all sisters should have a photo like this :)
A little over a year ago Shannan's world was completely rocked - her world seemed to crumble overnight - her husband passed away very unexpectedly. Instead of letting tragedy define her she found her inner strength and is an incredible fighter - not only for herself, but for her two precious boys. I have said several times how important having photos taken of you and your loved ones are - that is one reason I pushed this Women Only session - because I think women are pros at putting off having their photo taken - after talking to Shannan one night I asked her if I could share a little bit of her story - it just felt so heavy on my heart - thankfully, she came back and said YES AND that she would be happy to write a blurb for the blog. Below is what she sent me:

"I have always been a ham. I loved being in front of the camera, loved being on stage. I've always been tiny and cute. And skinny. But life happens, kids happen, and we gain weight. The last professional family portrait we had taken was before my youngest son was born. He is 8 now.  Josh and I were going to lose weight. We had a great plan...we were going to have great pictures taken as soon as we were skinny and fabulous.
But Josh died last year. As I was looking for photos to use at his memorial service, it struck me. We had been so wrapped up in our own insecurities that we hadn't allowed our journey to be documented. 

It turns out we were fabulous all along.
I vowed right then and there to let those insecurities go and embrace who I am...embrace my family and enjoy being on the other side of the lens. After a long, hard journey through some of the most difficult days of my life, I reconnected with my inner diva. It turns out that I am not just a mom. I had let that define me for so long that I lost track of myself. It took spending some time with a very good friend to help me realize that inside me is a gorgeous, brilliant, sexy, and interesting woman. I have things to share with the world other than how my kids are wearing out their jeans on a weekly basis or comparing growth rates and orthodontist bills. Stephanie captures that, and I love it. I love having my picture taken, and I can’t wait to look back when I am old and re-live my amazing journey." 

I'm not gonna lie - I read her email about 10 times and cried each time. I know we have all been there - there is always an excuse - but sometimes its too late. I love the line: "It turns out we were fabulous all along." Because you are all fabulous and beautiful just the way you are - in this exact time in your life.

  Shannan - thank you for teaching me oh so much about strength, love and class. The way you have danced in the rain is beautiful. You are a inspiration to so many. Keep fighting friend ;)

Shannan left me with this quote - I have heard it several times before and its one of my favs - you may even need to read it a few times to really let it sink in. During a really difficult time in my life I would wake up every morning and read this out loud to myself for about a month straight. It is powerful. Shannan thought it went perfectly with the entry and I couldn't agree more...

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

  - Used by Nelson Mandela in his 1994 inaugural speech



  1. Shannan is an amazing woman! I only know her through cyber space and our love for stamping, but I love her just the same!! I'm so glad that DIVA is showing herself to the world!!! Love ya Shannan!

  2. I've *always* known you are fabulous, Shannan. So happy you're seeing that! xoxo

  3. Lovely shot, and Shannan is just precious.

  4. I am still crying after reading this. Shannon you are fabulous, thank you for sharing your story. I had no idea. Stephanie, you are fabulous and so talented. I am in awe of what God is doing in both of your lives :)