Saturday, November 14, 2009

Giving Thanks

Yesterday I spent the morning with Nikki, Joe and their two beautiful daughters, Ally and Josie. I met this extraordinary family because of Tiffany and Charles (you may remember them from their wedding post about a year and half ago). Tiffany and I were talking one day and she was telling me their good friends lived about a mile away from me. She had mentioned that Ally has Cerebral Palsy. I had said how much I'd love to meet this family and do some family portraits for them. A few weeks ago Nikki called me and told me that Ally's health has declined because of her recently diagnosed congestive heart failure. Naturally we wanted to set up a session asap while Ally was still feeling okay.

As I talked to Nikki and Joe and got to know more about this family I couldn't help but feel how thankful I am. Thankful for getting to know this family; thankful that this incredible family trusted me to capture these photos for them, so that they could have them to cherish; and thankful for my own family. Without going into a lot of detail, Nikki told me some of the stories involved with Ally and how many times she has cheated death. There were birth complications which caused the Cerebral Palsy, but what is so miraculous is the fact that Ally actually died shortly after she was born. However, the doctors worked on her for FIFTEEN minutes and brought her back to her parents. Because of various complications, her parents have been told time and again that their little angel would not live through the night...the week...the month. What an incredible spirit Ally has! I said yesterday that if she was the average 4 1/2 year old little girl, can you imagine what a spitfire she would be!! God gives us miracles, and sends us messages, in so many different ways-and Ally is definitely sent from Him!

Nikki and Joe, I am at a loss for words as to how to thank you for allowing me into your home and your lives. You are an incredible family! You shared more with me yesterday than many people would feel comfortable doing, and for that I feel honored. I pray that I will be able to photograph the four of you again in the coming years!

When my blog readers watch this slideshow, please keep this family in your prayers, as Ally struggles with her health conditions, and pray that her little sister, Josie, will grow to know her big sister. You may also want to have a tissue or two handy. Whatever obstacles your family may be enduring, give them all a hug and give thanks for your life!


Ali said...

Should have watched this before I put on my make-up. Love that second to last one.

Anonymous said...

I have the privilege of knowing Ally & Josie's grandparents and have followed Niiki & Joe's lives through these dear friends. What a special portait of a blessed family, Debbie. Thanks for sharing these intimate moments of two lovely sisters. Yours truly, Dinah Carson, Twain Harte, CA. 11/16/09/

Ally's 'brown mama' Jerra =) said...

Amazing pictures! I am one of Allys teachers and I also watch her in her home and have become very close to her family. The pictures and music capture the Ellis Family perfectly! They are all so full of love! Ally has my heart! I fell in love with her the day that I met her and I just cant seem to get enough of her. Nikki and Joe are the most kind, loving and strongest people I know! I am so thankful to have them all in my life. I didn't know that it was possible to love someone elses child like she was my own. Now I do! Thank you so much for being so amazing to my 'second' family! Your photos and video seriously took my breath away!

Jennifer McKenna said...

Incredible job, Mrs. Brown!!! I loved seeing these pictures of my brother, sister, and nieces! Such a great family. They're so special to me and my hubby. You've captured them so well!!! Amazing. Ahem... do you sell this slide show for DVD, by chance????

Genny said...


I got your url from someone in my MOPS group. I've been praying for this family. What a privilige to see these beautiful photos. Their deep love and strength shines through every shot, every smile, every hug.

Thank you for sharing!


debbie brown said...

Jennifer, contact me at about a slideshow :)

Anonymous said...

What a gift this photoshow is for all who have met this family and who pray for stength and health for all of them. The love they have is in everyone's eyes..including the photographers! From Krista's Aunt Jo Ann in Houston

Anonymous said...

Debbie -
As one of Ally and Josie's Grandmas, I so appreciate what you have managed to capture on film.
What a treasure!
You were able to show Ally's wonderful spirit, and the family love that shines bright. And little Josie - what a wonderful addition to all of our lives.
Thank you, thank you.

Sally Ellis, Sonora CA

Anonymous said...

What beautiful girls. I am sorry to hear about Ally, but I know each and every day you will have special reminders of your precious little girl. My thoughts and prayers to all of you.

Katie Brown
(Debbie's daughter)

Anonymous said...

Ally was such a sweet, sweet little girl. Her smile was so beautiful--she could say a million words with it!!! She is missed already. Thanks for sharing this slideshow.

Neighbor and friend

valerie said...

wow Debbie you are so very blessed to have been touched by such a sweet little girl and her family. You've created magic to last forever in their lives and yours.

Colleen said...

Wow, Debbie - you weren't kidding. The slideshow of Ally and her family brought several tears to my eyes. What beautiful pictures and a beautiful family. They will be in my prayers. What a great memory they will always have with the beautiful pictures and slideshow. You could see the love and care and smiles and laughter in this adoring family. What a special moment you were a part of!

Claudia said...

I have no words, but prayers, thou the only thing I can truly say is that I have hardly seen any little girl as happy as Ally looked, she was really loved as few children could be, and so very fortunate to enjoy her short life in this way, not all children in the world have as a good family.

I am sure in heaven where she is, she smiles for all the love she brought with her from all her loved ones, and the one she left on their hearts.

Good bless you for this!!

I am sure you will meet again someday!

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