[This is my second in my series of "unveiling the mother." A hope to share storytelling not only in pictures but in words. To allow mothers a chance to share what's on their heart and how the imperfect road of motherhood and life is molding and shaping us into soaking in grace-filled days. To read other stories in this series click on the tag at the bottom of the page "unveiling the mother."]
I never met mama Brianne until our actual shoot. I knew of her. And how cute she was. And that she loved art. But I didn't know her story. When she walked up with her MOST ADORABLE daughter I knew it was going to be a good shoot. Paisley (YES HER DAUGHTER ALSO HAS THE BEST NAME), was just a peach. Giggled, twirled, explored and loved her mama well. What I didn't know was the importance of capturing them together that evening. What layers of story they share. What Brianne has endured, overcome, and grown stronger from.
Here are some powerful words from Brianne...
I was born an artsy little soul. There was nothing better than a fresh box of markers and a crisp clean sketch pad. I needed to create, and had huge ideas. I had that wonderful all American upbringing. Somewhere along the way, life seemed to pull me away from my artist endeavors. I got married, had a child, and the paints and canvases were quickly packed away. I had turned into an adult, and a mother. I always hoped that one day I could find time again to be a "real artist."
Then on August 5th 2011, I had a regular check up with my doctor. It was intended to be one of my many tasks I was checking off my "to-do" list for the day. Except that's when my entire life changed. Every feeling of what I knew about expectations, comfort, trust, justice, and safety, were gone with three words. "You have cancer." I was a new mom, lived a clean life, and was an ambassador for all things organic. I never ever thought it was a possibility for this to happen to me. As my doctor cried in front of me delivering these words, I was pretty convinced I was going to die.
Surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation commenced. It was pure hell. My entire body was barely alive, but my spirit was strong. I thought I was done with treatment, and only rainbows were ahead. Not too much time passed before I was delivered my second round of bad news. "The cancer is back". More surgeries and treatment began, and again ended. Another six months of life returning to normal happened, and then again.... "Something showed up on your scans". So, for the third time surgeries and treatment began all over again. All the while I was also sorting through a difficult divorce, and managing a vivacious toddler as a single parent. Some days seemed like I was being punished and mocked. I couldn't understand "why"? All along the way, I prayed for peace and grace, and healing. All along the way I tried to figure out what God was trying to tell me. Now I know that God was making me strong, brave, fearless, and preparing me to do his work. I needed to figure out how to utilize the talents he gave me to bless others.
So I fearlessly started an art business, operating purely on faith. I'm living my childhood dream of being a "real artist". I have been blessed with the opportunity to teach others how to create, and to see the world in vivid colors. Bloomington has been nothing short of a miracle for me. I have now owned my business, be.CAUSE Gallery and Studio, for over 2 years. Every new follower, customer, and contact completely blows my mind. The support is humbling and SO appreciated. Most importantly, I am currently 2.5 years cancer free. The longest I've ever gone. I have an incredible feisty daughter that serves as ongoing motivation every single day. I am so grateful for this life, my story, and my journey.
Although this wasn't the life I predicted, it IS the one I was gifted. And, I wouldn't change a single thing.
Want to encourage Brianne? Follow her work? Join an art class? Find her here: