I was at a camp out this past weekend with my son’s SMA Raider team. Most of you have no idea what I’m talking about so I’ll try to explain. My son’s school is a military school for good kids, focuses on them going to college and really gives the kids the chance to focus on school and be whatever they want to be. At his school, they have a team called “Raiders” it’s a JROTC team with running, push ups, tire tipping, mud-slinging & sweat galore! I left out a lot of other activities, but I think you get the idea.
This weekend they also had a competition with another military academy, that also is a public, charter school for good kids with the same focus on college. They were fromSummerlin Military Academy, so it was sort of cool having SMA vs. SMA! Now, the camping was fun, the competition awesome, but really that wasn’t what the weekend was about. This weekend was about making the team. The kids from our school & some incoming freshman…trained all summer long with 3 mile beach runs on Saturdays and 3 mile park runs on Wednesdays. This was the summer… you know, where most kids don’t leave their beds until noon…only to fall asleep for 2 more hours in front of the tv & then later go out and start all over again. Not these kids! They were focused on making this team. They have 8 slots for the All Male team, 8 for the All Female team & 8 slots for the Mixed team. There will be alternates…a few…but last year my son found out that while it’s just an honor and a great achievement to make the Varsity team…it’s not the same if you don’t compete! The kids on our team were fighting to beat Summerlin, but really were fighting for a spot on the competing team. Raiders training is hard & the 50+ kids that have dropped out in the last 3 weeks proves it! Our kids…really took a beating this weekend and it wasn’t out of fear of losing or worrying about what other people would think. No, it was because they have had a taste of what it’s like to be a part of something bigger…something amazing…something great!
Our Raider team has won 1st place at the State Competition for 4 years now! Our kids on these teams are the best of the best! It’s not just because they are faster or stronger, but because they are led by a team of men with great integrity and these kids support each other through everything, even when they fall or fail! I’m so proud to be a part of this team, even at a distance…watching through my lens…grateful that there are still people who will stand by you…pick you back up & support you until you cross that finish line!
I still remember the moment he left, the moment I knew I was on my own. I remember how I felt, first I felt abandoned, then I felt anger & then at the core of it all…FEAR that cripples even the strongest of people. My fear…raising two boys on my own. Now, I was fortunate to have some child support & the fact that their Dad was still local so they still had him in their life. There are hours of things that I could write about that would anger even Mother Theresa, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to talk about the victory, the end result, after all the bad…the bright shiny ending 🙂
See, I was a single Mom for 7 years with two amazingly wonderful boys! I’ve since remarried about 3 years ago, but again, this isn’t what this story about. This story is about the single Mom & how she hope & prays every free moment, that she loved those kids enough & that they won’t miss the other parent. They pray that they give them enough & that their kids don’t want for anything. Single Moms work sometimes 2 & 3 jobs to provide for their kids & so they have the best that they can give them. Single Moms worry about their kids sometimes to the point of being ill & they love them until their hearts burst!
We hope that we taught them enough, loved them enough, prepared them enough & was there enough, even though we know we couldn’t be & it wasn’t a matter of choice like with other parents. I think we hold our breaths until they graduate from High School, because there has been so much put into them to get them this far. Now after hanging onto our kids for dear life…we have to learn to let go…let them spread their wings and fly…watch the beautiful sight of them making a life of their own & smiling when you know that you had everything to do with it! Well…you & God, but He was the one that entrusted you to carry this life until he could walk on his own & love him until your own breath was gone.
This photo is one of my friends Latoya & her son Kenny. She is an amazing single Mom 🙂 She has raised a wonderful young man & soon he will graduate and head off to the Army! I love that I was able to capture this moment last week, where she can rest her head on his shoulder for a change. Latoya…your prayers have come true & your wishes come true 🙂 He’s a good man! Just like we all hope they will be…so breathe…smile & know that someone appreciates all of your hard work & is so proud of you! Love you…you did it!
Corinne Noel †
This past weekend I had the pleasure & pure joy of photographing Taylor & Alex for their prom at Riverview High School in Sarasota. We met out at Marina Jack’s and had plans to walk out to the furthest point out near the water for photos. When I said we, I’m sure you thought, the kids, maybe a parent of two & myself. No, that wasn’t the case at all! We… it was a bit more like 200 kids with ALL of their family, not just parents…all at once converging onto a small island! There was lace & satin, sequins & fabulous shoes…EVERYWHERE! It was AWESOME!! All the beautiful colors and designs, textures & flowers! I was in heaven, until I realized I was there to take photos of only 2 of them & somehow I didn’t want the other 200 in the background.
The photos turned out beautiful, everyone was happy & I had a blast. So…when is the next PROM!!!!??? 🙂 Call me…I’m there!
If you want to check out more of the photos from this Beautiful Prom Shoot, click here!
I had the pleasure to photograph and the honor to meet all of the volunteers for the Hearts Afire Medical Outreach Missions. These wonderful people are the behind the scenes that make medical missions in Haiti, Africa and other places in real need of medical help. Some of the Doctors that go out into the field, putting their safety aside to help others were there also.
They had a 50’s themed party to thank all of the volunteers, with all the 50’s music, egg cream sodas and hula hoops you could handle. There was a beautiful ’55 Lincoln in the prettiest shade of blue for me to photograph the guests with.
I don’t have an M.D. after my name, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t volunteer some of my time and give back to the ones that are helping others. It was really a great night and everyone seemed to have a great time…including me, I now have a really cute pair of those pink retro shades…love them!
Corinne Noel †
I was asked as a favor to shoot the 2010 Southwest Florida Regional Kickball Tournament. I accepted the challenge, not because I have never had the pleasure of photographing kickball, but because I haven’t seen a kickball since the 6th grade! What really drew me in was that this was kickball for adults.
I had flashbacks to 6th grade, remembering my “special spin” I would put on the ball. I remember kicking with all of my heart, only to fall flat on my butt and never even touching the ball. I remember silently praying to not be the last pick and grinning from ear to ear when I wasn’t. I was nervous. I was picturing the people on past teams, now grown up, pointing and laughing at me…still!
I thought about what kind of insane person would want to “go back” and play kickball? Obviously all the athletic guys and tomboys that made it look so easy. People that couldn’t possible make it in real life that they felt they needed to succeed somewhere and kickball was it. Now I wasn’t really sure what to expect.
When I arrived, I was relieved to see normal, healthy, okay somewhat normal people having a blast! Now, don’t think they weren’t competitive, because they were VERY serious about their kickball. They had rules and matching shirts and trophies…oh my!
At the end of the day, I found some of the nicest people I’ve met in Sarasota, who really can play some kickball and have a blast doing it. It was a great time, so great that I was rethinking my childhood failures at kickball and thought I might give it a go. There’s always next year 😉