We did it. My amazing Momma and I just sat down together in Colorado over Christmas and booked our flights to Paris. It’s so surreal. It’s actually happening.
Below you’ll find the whole story on how this workshop came to be, but I need to get you the details first so you can get signed up! I also added some other options including a mentoring session with me, a signed, limited print of your choice from the images I’ll take in Paris, and a beginner workshop too! They are all priced the lowest you’ll ever see them… simply because I want to sell them all so I can hit our goal for the funds we need for the workshop & for our Paris trip!
Here are the options:
Billings Workshop: January 10th, 2015 from 9am-4pm. Cost: $279
Sign up here: http://www.gofundme.com/parisbound
This will be a very educational & fun workshop where you will learn a ton of information from some of the best in the business. Take a look at the line up and what they will be teaching below:
Missoula Workshop: January 17th & 18th. Cost $279 (Day 1) $179 (Day 2)
There is only ONE spot left for day 2, so hurry and grab it if you want hands on training, shooting techniques, using lighting, posing, finding locations, etc.
For day 1, (the full day classroom workshop) we have an incredible line up. Check them out here:
Hurry up and sign up for the workshop here: http://www.gofundme.com/parisbound
There are also a few other options if you aren’t a professional photographer. Wanted to offer something for everyone. The prices are much lower than I normally charge since this is for my mom, and I want them all to sell. So if you have ever wanted to come to my beginner photography class, have a private mentoring session with me, learn photoshop, go on a shoot with me, or if you just want a cool printed picture from our Paris trip, now is the time!! Check those out here:
Click this link to grab yours as I’m only offering a limited amount of each. http://www.gofundme.com/parisbound
Thanks you guys! Hope to see you soon! My mom told me to tell everyone thank you too… she can’t believe this is happening.
So here is the story:
When my mom told me she had breast cancer I felt so many different things. Worry, sadness, anger, helplessness, hope, doubt, faith, strength & weakness. Here is my journal entry from that day. I was on the other side of the planet in one of the most beautiful places on earth, but all I wanted to do was be with my mom.
I then saw a post from my friend Cindy about her incredible, beautiful mother who went to Heaven after her battle with cancer. It filled me with sadness & pain for Cindy and her family, but also with happiness and hope at the same time. Knowing her Mom made such an impact on this world, and hearing all about her love of life through Cindy’s posts filled my heart with hope. She also sent me some of the kindest, most thoughtful messages after hearing about my moms cancer. She printed shirts that say “Don’t wait too long” and talked about how precious life is and how important it is to do the things you want to do NOW with the people you love. So… I sat there in the Seychelles, looking out at the waves and made my list. First thing that came to my mind was going to Paris with my mom. We’ve talked about it for so long… it’s always been a huge dream of ours to explore France together and have an amazing time wondering, discovering, shopping, eating & learning new things!
I came home a little while after I wrote this entry and gave my mom the biggest hug ever. I sat with her through chemo treatments, helped her pick out a wig as she started losing her hair, and watched her body go through hell to fight this cancer. It sucked, but she was amazing throughout the whole ordeal. She kept her spirits high, laughed often, and put her faith in God. Our family and all her friends were incredibly supportive. My brothers who are in the military shaved their heads in honor of my mom. After getting heat from their friends on how stupid their new haircut was, they explained why they did it. They told them how their mom just had to shave her head because she was losing all her hair from chemo. All the guys in their platoons asked where the clippers were and my mom got a picture soon after with all their new haircuts and a sign that said “STAY STRONG MARI”. Gotta love those military boys, always looking out for their brothers & their families.
One morning as I was sipping my coffee, I looked next to me and saw my mom curled up into a little ball on the couch, her scarf tied to her head that I had just shaved the previous day. She looked so weak, and sick… I’m so used to her taking care of me, so when these roles reversed, it was weird… I looked at her, snuggled up to her blanket, wearing her cute flannel pajamas and I knew I had to make Paris happen. I was determined now. I hated seeing my mom like this, she is the strongest person I know and has been through so much in her life. I started looking back on my childhood, remembering just how tough she is.
My parents got divorced when I was 11. My dad is an alcoholic (he’s been sober for 18 years and is an incredible dad now… but back then, it was really rough). We couldn’t see him for a while, and even when we could, it was a supervised visit for an hour once every week of two. So during that time, my mom was a single mother of 4… and we were not easy kids. One of us was always getting stitches, getting sent to the principles office, breaking something in the house, fighting with each other, and making her job as a mom pretty tough. All of that and she was working full time to provide for us while we lived in a tiny little apartment together. I’m not sure if she ever slept during those years. We had no grandparents to help either. She lost her mother when she was in her 20′s and lost her dad when we were all pretty little. So she had no other choice but to do what she had to do to keep us safe, fed, in school, and happy. She nailed it.
That apartment was pretty awful… there were mice that liked to get to our food before we did, there were snakes that crawled inside and scared the crap out of us… especially my mom… and the place just wasn’t in the best shape. But that’s not what I think of when I think of our family being there. I think of how we all cuddled up around the TV to watch movies together. How we always ate meals as a family. How my brothers picked up a lot of the slack and took care of my little brother and I by cooking us meals, helping us with school work, and playing games with us. When they weren’t picking on us and beating us up of course.I shared a room with my little brother and my mom, and my 2 older brothers got the other room. We all shared a bathroom.
What’s weird to me looking back on it… is that it felt totally normal. I actually liked it better than having big houses where you don’t even have much interaction with everyone. We bonded so much in that little cozy apartment and my mom worked so hard to make sure we were all taken care of.
Luckily, she met an amazing man who became our stepdad and jumped right into our crazy family. He must have loved my mom A LOT to put up with the 4 of us. We weren’t very nice. Things got better. My dad got sober so we were able to see him more, my mom married Lee and he supported us all like we were his own kids. I remember feeling so happy for my mom that she found someone to be with her, help her, and love her.
We all get along and love each other like crazy, and I’m so glad things worked out like they did.
Okay… back to Paris. So, I knew I had to do something. I also know traveling to Europe is really pricey, and I don’t have any extra money. So the brainstorming began. Teach a workshop. Teach TWO workshops! Ask my photo friends if they were willing to teach with me and help me make this dream a reality. I was blown away by the support. They’ve never even met my mom but they feel like they know her after seeing all my posts and stories about her journey. It’s an incredible feeling when people have your back, no questions asked, when there is not much they get out of it. That’s when you know someone has an amazing heart, and is an awesome friend.
So here we are. Less than a week away from the first workshop. I cannot wait to meet you all and can never thank everyone enough for helping this dream come true. You guys are the best.
Thanks for reading this.. and thanks for all the love, prayers & support you’ve all sent my moms way.