Dawn's Photography Blog » Minnesota Childrens Portrait Photographer

I read the quote that entitles this post a few days ago and I realize how truly blessed I am to have so many any my life who have truly held me up when I could not stand on my own-literally.  This family that God allows me to call mine from my rock solid husband who dried my feet after my first shower, my daughters who fixed my hair, cleaned my house, cheered me on and nursed me through some of the worst days, my mother, my sister and the amazing group of individuals whom I call my portrait family.

I have been gradually working my way back into this fabulous world of mine called ©Dawn’s Photography.  Editing has proven to be the most difficult.  Finding the right position and not staying there too long altered with fighting the fatigue that often overwhelms every cell until I wake up drooling on my editing tablet.   I took 14 sessions prior to surgery that required editing.  I’m proud to say that I am down to the final TWO and did I say I am very proud of that!  I’m even MORE grateful to these amazing clients I have who waited patiently- NOT ONE messaged me asking for a single image or time line and for that I cannot tell you how blessed I truly am to have each of you in my portrait family!  EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU HAVE HELD ME UP.

They say that God works in his time.  In my previous post I shared with you that I had to give it to GOD’S PLAN and not mine.  I am truly marveled at how HIS plan really does always figure itself out.  I am now able to do minimal sessions with the continued restrictions for ONE YEAR of no bending, lifting or twisting.  When I was given those restrictions at 5 weeks post-op, I about fell apart.  I could see the for sale sign going up on the studio right before my eyes.  And then in marches GOD with his plan.  Our oldest daughter Mariah, has been pursuing her nursing degree at UND in Grand Forks and from her first year of college she has always stayed there during the summers for her job that blessed her with 3 years of scholarships.  This year she wanted an internship to gain more experience before graduating next year.  In May she was offered a summer internship in OB department of LRHC in Fergus Falls and moved home on May 15th.  She has become my other half.  She does every ounce of bending, lifting and twisting required of me and allows me to just capture the images.  She cleans, she cooks, she washes clothes, she feeds me when she knows I need nourishment and she bosses me to take care of me.  It reminds me that she learned it somewhere and that at one time she possibly saw her mother doing the same things for her.

I am back taking sessions.  I have made the very difficult decision at this time that at least until further notice I will NOT be taking any NEW clients.  I will honor all of my portrait family if I have ever photographed any member of your family then I will do my best to make it work.  I will be doing most sessions on the days that Mariah is not working which at this time is  Monday’s or Friday’s.  I will only be doing ONE session a day and I will NOT be taking high school seniors (unless we have already booked or you are already a member of my family) due to the time involved with a senior session.  I do not want to have ANY senior be disappointed in what they saw in my previous years verses what I would be able to offer them at this point.  If that changes I will update my blog/post on facebook so be sure to LIKE my page for updates as to the status of my availability.

Life has set me back.  It’s been a burden and a hardship.  I’d never wish on anyone the feelings of being inadequate as a woman, a wife, a mother, a friend or a professional; however the lessons that I have learned are worth every single second.  I read a prayer the other day- “Let me not die while I am still alive”; TIME TO LIVE!


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It is with heavy heart that I am writing this post.  As most of you know 6 weeks ago I closed my studio, hung up my camera and crawled in pain to lay this body down to rest and recover.  I have struggled with back problems since 2009.  Having surgery in 2010, I had a full year of no pain and 2 additional  years with minimal pain that I could tolerate working through.  Over the course of the past 13 months the pain has returned and has gotten worse than it ever was before.  Some days I have been rendered unable to even move by the time I am done with a newborn session or a day of bending, twisting and rolling on the ground to capture that perfect shot.  Don’t get me wrong there are days I do nothing but sit and edit; the pain is there always.

Last May as my baby graduated from high school a cortisone injection aided in calming down the nerves and getting me about 3 good months but a repeat injection in September did not provide any relief.  I worked my way through the busy season of the fall and holiday bustle and on January 24th I photographed my beautiful nieces wedding, enduring the worst pain I have ever in my life felt.  Please don’t get me wrong, it was not the wedding that caused my pain but I think the wedding that kept me going until I could no longer render myself able.  It’s kind of like running the entire race with the finish line in site and when you finally get there- you collapse.  The wedding was my finish line and each day that was my goal of making it through that day.

I saw a neurosurgeon  on January 28th and upon his recommendation of no bending, twisting, lifting or prolonged sitting, I set out with the goal of avoiding surgery at all costs and healing my back by becoming stronger through thought, prayer and physical therapy.  Pain is like a fog…sometimes it clears up a bit for you to see all that is before you and where you need to go but then suddenly it thickens and you cannot find your way to where you know you are let alone where you need to be.  I have spent these past 6 weeks in a dense fog.  Each day of therapy has proven to provide more pain than relief; in spite of Heather’s amazing efforts.  (It was such a blessing to have a special member of my portrait family work with me as my therapist to reach a goal and to lift me up every single day.)  Therapy exacerbated the impinged nerve and  the pain most days has been unbearable; worsening every single day to where I have not slept more than 3 hours at a time in so long that I cannot even remember what it feels like to not be awakened by the nagging return of this band wrapping around my body, squeezing and stabbing me from the waist down.  Sitting here at my computer composing this note is proving to be excruciating which tells me that I am getting too lengthy in my wording.

So cut to the chase.   This past Friday I followed up with the neurosurgeon and in my heart I knew the answer was going to be surgery.  My plan was to work through May 8th as I had over 20 sessions booked between now and the 8th of May PLUS I had a trip to New York City planned with my mother that my family had given me for Christmas.  We were to fly out on April 1st for a long weekend of Lady Liberty, Central Park and Broadway shows.  In spite of my severe pain it was my hope that I would be able to follow MY plan.  It appears that I must follow GODS plan instead.  The nerve impingement and resulting deficit had Dr. Abassi wanting to expedite surgery to this week.

So today, I am wrapping up the details, scheduling in every possible session to be completed prior to a scheduled surgery date of April 1st.  (Kind of heart wrenching knowing that I should dancing on a table in New York as opposed to laying on an operating table.)  I think though if GOD had not made this decision for me, I would not have survived that additional time in pain.  It is exhausting me and there are moments where I do not even want to move let alone try to capture life.  I would not have done justice to my clients continuing to work as I am today.

I will have my camera in my hand for 10 GLORIOUS days and will be able to capture a few of my little loves to refuel my soul until I can return a new and healed woman.  I am so truly blessed as I have spent the past 4 days contacting each client before posting this on my blog/page.  I cannot explain how it feels in my heart to hear the love and support, the encouragement, the  kind words, and  the PRAYERS…how can one be so blessed as to know that there are children everywhere saying bedtime prayers for ME!?!?!  To each of you who willingly rescheduled your sessions to avoid my pain, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  To those of you whom we couldn’t wait because time does not bring back that first birthday or that special date but have patiently waited for even a glimpse of an image from our session, to my BEAUTIFUL niece Sarah (Jesse and  your families)  who has been a wife for over 2 months and STILL hasn’t seen her wedding images, I cannot tell you how truly humbled and blessed I am by each of you that GOD put YOU in my life.  I am eternally grateful for each and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU!!!

I have this beautiful family, a rock of a husband and 2 beautiful women I call daughters,  who have walked this journey beside me, watching me struggle to move, avoiding life.  I am so blessed as each of you picked up the pieces (the dishes, the cooking, the cleaning, the love, the hugs, the phone calls and the smiles…) for me and have prayed along side of me for healing.  Together with GOD by our side, I will be closing my studio until May 15th, in anticipation of the greatest gift of all- LIFE without pain.     a25ee5be2ed14439891deb01f69e75e8I cannot wait to live out my EXTRAORDINARY DESTINY!







Little Toes

Little Toes

The phone awakens me at 1:30 in the morning and of course with teenage/college daughters and 80+ year old relatives; the first thought is Lord help me with whatever has happened.  Drawing myself out of my REM sleep of less than 2 hours I hear a young mom on the other end saying, “Dawn, it’s Ashlie and it’s time…”

I’m about to embark on a vision I’ve had for a couple of years now but just finally have found the courage and the time in my personal life to take the first step to this place where I have felt God has been guiding me.  I’m a slow learner sometimes and often resist God; requiring him to push me a little harder than I’d like.  Just the day before I had told my sister that I had this in the makings and was awaiting the call- regretfully.  You see I LIKE my sleep- I NEED my sleep!  Plus I HATE winter!  The snowstorm of the week before had me hoping that this baby would not make it’s arrival when I couldn’t get out of my driveway and this week the -20 degree temps had me wondering why I thought this might be a new adventure just for me.

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