Breast Cancer,  Photography

Community – Beacons of Light

Community – a Beacon of Light

Two years ago, I had two rounds of chemo (the Red Devil) under my belt; and I think I was diagnosed with Influenza A that week as well.

One month ago, a young man from the Brainerd Lakes Area committed suicide.

A week before that Florida underwent the tragedy of a mass school shooting.

If memory serves me correctly, in January the Brainerd Lakes Area mourned the loss of another young man.

Last year the Pillager area mourned the loss of a young man due to a car accident.

In and between all these occurrences, every day, somewhere, someone is experiencing a sense of loss; whether it is due to an illness, an injury, an accident, or a planned event.  And chances are, wherever that incident is, those affected by that tragedy are experiencing something we are all a part of, but in a way they’ve never experienced it before.

If you look up the word community on, you will find that it is a noun (proper name) and the first of several meanings is: “a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.”

While I know it is difficult to believe that I am going to argue with an inanimate, online dictionary, I so am.

Until my diagnosis, community did hold a different meaning for me.  I knew I was a part of a community; the town I lived in, the church I attended, or organizations where I was a member.  In that sense, community is a lifeless word.

When I discovered I had cancer, there were many things that went through my mind, and many of them went without answers for a long time.  However, there was one thing I never doubted – I had a living, breathing entity surrounding my family and I with love, light, and hope.  By the actions of those within my group, community was brought to life.  It is because of a sense of belonging, compassion, commitment, and camaraderie of our family, friends, and neighbors that action is taken.  Thus, community is a verb.

I know that when my community jumped into action, it overwhelmed my family and I.  The love and support was beyond our wildest imagination, and there were no words to express our gratitude adequately.  It is my hope that everyone has a community to lift and carry them when need be.

The beauty is, with the technological advances we have, we do not have to be directly in that community in order to make a difference.  Technology becomes our common thread, and through that we are able to reach those we might not be able to otherwise. Which is what I will be doing – reaching out to a community through the internet.

Photo of the inside of a floral store with flower arrangements, teddy bears, and other miscellaneous decorations.

On Saturday, April 28 and May 5, 2018 from 9:00 – 11:30 a.m.; I will be doing “Mommy & Me” mini-sessions, hosted at Cedarwood Floral in downtown Pillager.  The session fee is $150 for 20 minutes and includes a $20 gift certificate for Cedarwood Floral, an 8×10 photo of your choice in honor of Mother’s Day, and 25% of the proceeds will be donated to “The Lighthouse Project” (formerly “Smiles for Jake”); a fundraiser started by the Brainerd High School Soccer team in honor of their teammate and classmate.  It is their mission to be a “catalyst for the improvement of mental health and suicide prevention on a local level by focusing on community-based solutions”.  For more information check out their GoFundMe page, which can be found by clicking here or their Facebook page found here.

I will have six sessions each day at the floral shop.  I will have a set-up that includes a white wicker couch and a variety of fresh flowers for the decor.  I will also have some on-location sessions (at your home or an alternative location) if those dates do not work for you.

My heart breaks every time I see a status update, or hear on the news, of communities that are hurting.  From experience, knowing there are beacons of light out there surrounding you in spirit, lifting and supporting you, are the only way to make it through a day.  I hope you will be able to join me in shining our beacons of light on those that need it now.

Mommy and Me Mini-Sessions Fundraiser postcard
Visit my website,, to submit your inquiry to book a session today!!


At 50 years old I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I am currently NED (no evidence of disease), and trying to spend every day reviewing the world through the new lens I wear as a breast cancer survivor.

One Comment

  • Brandy

    Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! I am at a loss for words after reading this post. I always finish reading your posts with so many points to ponder about life and people and the human connection each and every time. I wish I lived closer to you so that I could partake in a mini-session! Keep up the great work.

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