Door Number Three
Her Heart is Always Doing Lovely Things.
Hi there beautful's - Shania here!! For those who do not know me, my name is Shania, I occasionally go by the name Shanizz, and I am known as the 'dead calling turkey!' (For those who have been photographed with me standing right behind Mary will fully understand what I am talking about. And for those who want to know - call me and I will gladly fill you in :P) Anyway, I am Mary's assistant, and today I want to take the much needed time to take over and talk about your beautiful portrait photographer for a minute. She has no idea that I am doing this, so please take the time in helping me honor her and reading this blog post in your down time as you are hopefully enjoying the sunshine and family this Memorial Day weekend.
So with that being said, if it is okay with you, I want to tell you how a prayer has been answered in my life.
And that prayer ladies and gentleman, is Mary.
Tuesday, March 6th 2018 - a prayer had been heard and answered, and I didn't even know it.
It was 1:30 in the afternoon; snowing falling, wind blowing, and tears falling. I was riding the public bus on my way over to meet Mary for the first time, and I remember spending the majority of that bus ride crying, praying, and hiding. For those who are familiar with public transportation, know that it is a daily protection game. Although is it quite a blessing that a city as small as Green Bay offers public transportation, it does not make it any different than a New York subway ride, or a Chicago public tour. There are so many things you see, hear, and feel that remind you that being human is such a courageous thing. And when I say being human, I mean being vulnerable. Seeing a mom holding her sleeping baby tight at 6:00 a.m. in the morning as she is silently crying looking at the passing city through the bus window- makes you feel something. Seeing a homeless man pay for a someone else's bus fare, when you know that he just gave away all the money he had for three weeks - makes you feel something. Hearing a kid talk about how they just got a brand new coat and seeing how excited he was about it, seeing his face light up - makes you feel something. Every day, every minute - makes you feel something. But that Tuesday afternoon, I remember that it wasn't what I was seeing that made me feel, but rather what others saw of me, that made them feel. I was that mother, that homeless man, that kid. I was now in that category of people who are obviously lost, and could really use a prayer in their life. I was no longer someone looking from the outside in, I was one of them. And I did not know it until a elderly woman came up to me and said that she was going to pray for me. I was a bit puzzled, so I asked.. "excuse me, but what do you mean?" and with a smirk on her face, she looked at me with compassion and said, "no one sits, observes, and listens the way you are right now without understanding pain themselves. And I know that you are feeling because your face is flushed, and you will not stop staring at every broken person this bus holds. And that is unfortunately every soul seated today, including you and me."
I didn't know if I understood exactly what she was saying, but what I did know is that she was so right. Everyone has baggage, everyone knows pain. But that Tuesday afternoon filled my heart with a bit of fear. I didn't want to spend the rest of my life stuck in the sorrow of the past. I wanted to rise above, and for some reason, this bus ride symbolic enough that my soul overcame me, I got off the bus seven stops early, fell to my knees, and prayed.
I didn't necessarily know what I was doing, and certainly didn't expect it to work; but something came over me to take that moment and speak to our Heavenly Father. Little did I know, as I got up, began walking in the cold in my awfully heeled boots; that I was on my way to her at that very given moment.
Tuesday at 2:15 p.m. - my life had been changed forever.
I went in to schedule a photography session with her, and I came out with a job offer. Something that all in itself is a blessing. I was in a spot where I could really use some extra cash, and the job offer was exactly what I needed at that given time. I remember thinking, "wow, God you work fast." Little did I know, that was the least of what he had planned that day.
God Knew my Heart Needed You.
"So why do you want to be photographed?" she asked as she began writing on the cutest sticky note pad. I honestly didn't know the answer. I never liked being photographed, and I caught myself repeating that question out loud. "Uh, because some of my friends have suggested modeling?" I responded to end the awkward silence. I knew that wasn't the answer, but I too didn't know the answer. And as I take a step back, two almost three months later, I realize maybe there wasn't one. Maybe there wasn't an audible answer. And as I sit here and talk about this woman I met out of a limb of faith, I finally understand that that too is okay. Cause as I accepted the job offer, I too have been given so much by taking the time to listen to my heart, and follow my gut.
Mary is not just a portrait photographer. She too is a mom, a sister, a artist, a musician, a comedian, and a follower of Christ. She has the kindest of souls, and deepest of loves. She not only gave me a job that day, but she too gave me my life back. And though pain will always be something that consumes all of us, it is tolerable, defeatable with Mary. It is tolerable with Mary my friend, and with Mary my photographer. As YOUR photographer.
Sitting there on that Tuesday afternoon, observing and crying - I had no idea that that cry, was a cry for a new perspective. Cause as I sit and observe Mary loving each and every one of you through her camera lens, I too am filled with such joy knowing that someone like her exists. She is somehow untraditional, but loves you traditionally. She is somehow calm, but lives ferociously. She is somehow a photographer, but too a healer. I do not understand her, but I too do not want to. Because though March 6th was the first day of a new job, it too was the first day of a new life.
A new life filled with a car. One that she selflessly gave me for free. A new life filled with a family. A family in hers, and one in the people she strategically surrounds herself with. A new life filled with dancing. Dancing that not only already existed, but too became part me rather than what I did. A new life filled with Christ. Someone she introduced me to, and someone I accepted into my heart because of her. And a new life filled with a greater joy. A greater joy that represents the growth that fills my soul daily with her in it.
With my whole heart, thank you Mary.
So let the title "Door Number Three" signify a life that has been unlived but well loved. Let it signify the impact that Mary has made in my life, and the impact she can make in yours. Let door number four await as I continue to love everyone the way she loves her clients, and everyone who steps foot into her life. May you accept her into your heart when the thought of photos come to mind. Cause not only will she give you the most beautiful photos, she too will give you the most beautiful life and love. And as she always asks "Why do you want to be photographed," know she is not just wanting to just photograph you to put a picture on your wall, but she too is asking to remind you why you were put on this earth. And she has the undeniable beauty in doing so through her photographs and heart.
So with that, thank you for taking the time to read a bit more about Mary, and thank you for letting me take over today. I couldn't help but want to thank her, someway, somehow... and I believe the best way to do that is to share her legacy that already exists in a lot of your hearts. Thank you for all that you do, thank you for believing in my friend and her talent.
We love you Mary, and please know that the world is more beautiful with you in it.