Felecia's Spot "NOVEMBER"

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I am so excited to start blogging. Please forgive me if you see any mistakes, I have been so  fortunate and blessed to do what I love....

I want to start my blog off by telling a little about what Felecia's Photography offers. I will first start with newborn and maternity sessions. Newborns are so sweet and precious. The best time to capture those precious pictures are the first two weeks of being born.





When including siblings, please make sure they have had their naps. Kids can become cranky, make the parents cranky, and then the session will not be fun or pleasant. Make sure the baby has been fed at least 30 minutes before the session. If you are with a photographer, who are charging by the time, as myself, you may want to take that in consideration. I had one session one time where the baby cried the whole the entire...... time.  Pick an appointment time around the baby's schedule....







Maternity Pictures are my favorite.  The beauty of motherhood.   Many ladies are not very comfortable with their bodies.  You may get pregnant again, but remember you will never have the same child again.  Great memories!  Rather it be me or a fellow photographer. Choose someone who makes you feel comfortable.





I love outdoor pictures as well. There will be more about what to bring to a maternity session, who to bring, editing stretch marks, and getting designed maternity sashes made to a personal preference, in next months blog.


Felecia's Photography Wedding Special's 
Book a wedding November - February and receive a Bridal Session and Engagement Session with a sign contract and paid deposit
Be sure to be here in January for more on wedding tips from many vendors. I will even share my wonderful experience of my first beach wedding in Malibu, CA.







Below you will see interviews from different people with different stories. (Thanks everyone for their support, and God bless you.)

My parents...



My parents (my loves), have been married for over 26 years.  

Me: For a new married couple, what advice would you give them?

Both: Pray and put God first in your marriage.

Me: How did you solve finacial problems and arguements?

Mama: We kept the faith. Sometimes a lot of money can cause more problems than a little bit of money.  
Dad: When times got hard, that is when I felt we definately needed to pull together.




Nomination Contest Winner "Deanna's Story"


On last month I did a contest, where you could nominate someone who you thought deserved a free photo session. I received many nominations and emails, but I could only chose one person.  I received an email from:


 Carla Ballard Brewer
"I would like to nominate my daughter's 3 children - ages 13, 11 and 5. Since the baby was born, they have only had 1 formal picture made because of health and financial difficulties. Right after the youngest child was born, my daughter went into stage 4 heart failure - caused by the pregnancy. My daughter's heart is back to normal now, but they almost lost their house a couple of years later. So having pics of the kids made was not a high priority. Would love for them to win a session."
I had selected my winner, after going back and fourth over the emails.
Carla Brewer's daughter Deanna Brewer Acreman. The winner receives a free session, with an agreement to send in their testimony/awesome story.

I met this family Saturday September 26,2013


Here is their story:


~Deanna~
My husband and I first met at a school function when I was 14 (starting high school), and he was 18 (graduating high school). He was finally allowed to take me on our first real date on my 16th birthday. He asked me to marry him on Valentine’s Day, 1998. I graduated from high school in May, and we got married the following September.




About a year after we were married, we decided to try to have a baby. We had wanted to adopt 2 babies and have 2 of our own. I was having a really hard time getting pregnant, so we decided to go ahead and adopt a baby from Vietnam. At 7 months into the 9 month adoption process, we received a picture of our beautiful baby girl. About 2 weeks before we were suppose to leave for Vietnam to get our little baby girl, I found out that I was pregnant. We were shocked! My doctor gave the "go ahead" for me to travel. We traveled by plane for a total of 23 hours one way to Vietnam. The day we arrived, we met our baby girl, Autumn. There were some issues with black market adoptions over there, so officials were having to investigate every adoption thoroughly, before issuing visas. While waiting for our visa for Autumn, I began to have some issues that indicated something was wrong with the baby that I was carrying. Long story short, I found out the baby I was carrying had no heartbeat, and I had to leave Vietnam quickly. We had to leave Autumn with my sister-in-law (who had traveled with us) because Autumn still had no visa. I got back home with no baby in my arms, and had a miscarriage the night we arrived home. It took almost another month before Autumn was escorted over here. Finally in Feb. 2001, she was delivered into our arms!! She is a true joy to have as a child. She has always been the sweetest, most thoughtful, and well behaved child. She has a "big" heart and has always been so willing to help out any way she can. She has developed into an awesome big sister. She also loves riding horses, boots, weaving and reading books.



In July 2001, I found out that I was pregnant again. We were having a boy, and we were so excited!! I had a difficult pregnancy, filled with lots of blood work and hospital stays for monitoring the baby. I developed pre-eclampsia and at 36 weeks had to have a C-section for my health. In February, (EXACTLY one year to the day after Autumn arrived in the U.S), our son, Tyler, was born. He is our only son, and we are so proud of him. He too is a thoughtful child, but also has a stubborn, ornery side. He does get great joy out of aggravating his sisters at times, but what else is a brother to do? He loves to draw, and is very talented. Also, he thoroughly enjoys building complicated structures with Legos. He may end up being a draftsman, like his dad.



After 9/11, the economy tanked, and the company, where my husband was employed, shut down, so he had no job. No one was hiring in his field. We found ourselves struggling financially. We had to sell our house and move into a rental with cheap payments. We ended up living off credit cards for several months. With no one hiring, my husband decided to start his own business. He did this for a year and could still barely pay the bills. He finally found another job with better pay, but we were swamped in credit card debt by that time.
I found out I was pregnant again in 2007. We were really surprised, but excited! Unfortunately, it was another difficult pregnancy, filled with lots of blood work, medications and hospital monitorings. With this pregnancy, my heart rate stayed in the 120s to 140s most of the time. At one point, I had to wear a heart monitor for 24 hours to see if there was a problem, since my heart rate was staying so high. The monitor showed nothing abnormal with my heart rhythm. At 37 weeks pregnant, once again, I was developing pre-eclampsia. In April, I had a C-section, and my beautiful baby girl, Chloe, was born. After my C-section, I began hemorrhaging. They gave me medications to try to stop the bleeding. They repeated the medications 3 times and were about to have to take me back into surgery to find out the problem. Thank God, it finally stopped on its own, but I had to receive 2 units of blood before being released from the hospital.
The day after I got home from the hospital, I started having trouble breathing. I had to sit up to breathe and my feet were more swollen than when I was pregnant. They were so swollen that it literally hurt to walk. That evening, I took a deep breath and heard a rattling, sudsy sound in my throat. We immediately went to the ER. They did a chest x-ray, which showed that my lungs were filled with fluid. They admitted me to the hospital and began giving me Lasix to pull off the fluid. The next day, I had an echocardiogram. That evening, I received the news that my heart was functioning at 20%. Hence the reason my heart rate had been so high in pregnancy. I was in Stage 4 Congestive Heart Failure at 28 years old. I was diagnosed with Post Partum Cardiomyopathy. I had a 33% chance of getting worse and needing a heart transplant, 33% chance it would never get any better, and a 33% chance that I would fully recover. I was put on a strict diet along with lots of medications for my heart.
I was so afraid that I was going to die; I was a nervous wreck. There were a lot of tears on my part, but my husband was my constant support. He went on the horrible "extremely low salt" diet with me. If I could not eat it, he would not eat it. He took care of me and cooked, cleaned, did laundry and took care of the kids. For the first month, about all I could do was sit on the couch and hold my baby. I was unable to walk across the room without being out of breath. It was a very trying time for all of our family. But slowly, my heart began to recover, and, little by little, I gained strength. We “celebrated” our 10th wedding anniversary the same year that I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure.
We were still struggling financially, and after lots of prayer and consideration, we decided to build a house. We talked with our family about helping with building the house, to save money. The plan was to get a house loan and use the left over money that we saved (by getting volunteers to help build the house) to pay off credit cards. That would have worked, but once again my husband lost his job, because the company went out of business. He was out of work for 3 months. We were in the middle of building a house, and my husband had no job, and no prospects of one. So the left over money, that was suppose to pay off credit cards, went to just help us with everyday living. We had no idea what to do, except finish the house and then go from there.
About the time we were finishing the house, my husband finally found another job. Unfortunately, it barely paid our regular bills. We struggled and struggled for over a year in our new house, and finally came to the decision, that the only road left to take was bankruptcy. This is something that we NEVER wanted to do, but had no choice. We told our lawyer that we wanted to keep our house if possible. She said there were no guarantees. So we went into the process not knowing if we would have anything left when it was over. It was a very stressful time. Thankfully, we were allowed to keep our home.
This year, our youngest daughter, Chloe, turned 5. She is such a joy and our miracle. I wouldn’t change anything about having her. She loves her brother and sister and loves to talk, talk, talk. She is really into Barbies and dollhouses. She loves to sing and play dress up. She has an incredible imagination, just like I did when I was a little girl.


In July of this year, I had another ECHO of my heart, and my heart is still functioning normally! The nightmare of congestive heart failure at age 28 is now a memory!
Just a few days ago, my husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. But we have been together for 18 ½ years total, over half my life! My husband is absolutely my best friend. Our marriage vows have truly been tested . . . richer or poorer, sickness and health, better or worse . . . and we have come out the other side of these hard times, full of thankfulness and more in love than ever.
We are so grateful that we received this gift of a free family photo session. With money being so tight for several years, there was always something else that had to be taken care of rather than getting professional family pictures done. The last professional family picture that we had taken was when our oldest daughter was a year old. These pictures, that Felecia has taken of our little family, are just a beautiful reminder of how good God is. Through it all, Christopher and I still have each other, and we have 3 beautiful children. We have a beautiful family! So no matter what comes our way next, we will have these pictures to remind us that the sun WILL shine again!




"Those who know me, knows, how much I love photography, but I love GOD so much more. It was blessing to me to be able to be a blessing to someone else. Thanks for allowing me take your all pictures and share your story. You have such a sweet family and very respectful kids."
~Felecia
Felecia's Photography







"I'm Still Standing"




Mrs. Bertha was nominated by her daughter as strong cancer survivor. At the interview I could tell that she absolutely loves her kids and granddaughter. Below you will see Mrs. Bertha's interview about her journey as a cancer survivor.

Me: Tell me a little about yourself.
Mrs. Bertha: My name is Bertha Harris, I am 41 years old a mother of 4 kids and I have been married 22 years.

Me: How did you know something was wrong?
Mrs. Bertha: I went and got an annual Pap smear done, and it came back abnormal . They ran some tests and the diagnose ,was I had cervical cancer. I had three kids at the time, and I was pregnant with my 4th child. The doctors had asked me to abort my baby, but I didn't. Thank God I didn't. She is a very smart young lady, who makes straight A's in school.

Me: What was your first reaction? What was the first thing that came to your mind?
Mrs. Bertha: At first the doctors couldn't give me answers, the first thing I thought was it was AIDS. I panicked! I had to come with money to go see another doctor. I thought about my kids. I wasn't saved at the time, but I still trusted in God.

Me: What help you get through the the whole process?
Mrs. Bertha: My faith, prayer, and strength in The Lord. I have gotten saved, but I have backslide. I was still pressing even though I went back.

Me: Did you ever feel like giving up?
Mrs. Bertha: I did. After surgery I was in so much pain. I came to a stand still.

Me: As a strong woman and cancer survivor, what advice can you give to. Someone who is going through it now?
Mrs. Bertha: Trust God, and no matter what happens keep standing no matter what. Remember the rainbow and how pretty they are.

Me: How can a family member help their loved ones that have cancer?
Mrs. Bertha: Be there for them. Some people are not use to being pampered. Pamper them! Love them it don't have to be necessarily money.


Me: I am aware that recently two weeks ago, that they found rumors on the side of your neck, that, they say was cancerous.
Mrs. Bertha: Yes, I had them removed two weeks . I have a scar on the side of my face. I went to work two after. I have two full time jobs.

Me: What would you like to say to husband and kids?
Mrs.Bertha:  I love you and I couldn't ask for a better family. My husband we have through ups and down, and I couldn't ask for a better husband.  I am so grateful for my grand baby. I ask God to bless me to see her born and He has done that. I thank Him for that.










"Kiaya Means Forgiveness"





This family was nominated by a close friend of the family. This family has an amazing journey and story on how they would never have a child, by many doctors, but God said otherwise.They had one doctor tell them that NIcole uterous was that of 60 year old something woman.  When God does a thing, not even the doctors can explain it..




Me: Tell me a little about you and your husband?
Nicole: We have been married 12 years. I am orginally from Chicago and my husband Kevin is from Mobile.  

Me:How long into your marriage did you find out that you had a fertility issue? How did it make you feel?
Nicole: Actually we found, before we got married. I was going a certain menopause. I really didn't think about it. I was the oldest and I always would say I didn't want kids. 

Me: When? Where?  Did you find out ?
Nicole: After a long day at work a bunch of the ladies at work gave me a whole bunch of pregnancy test. Which I felt bad because they already knew my sitaution. That day I was playing around with a test and it showed up positive.  I took several tests, and they all came out positive. My friend came over and I met her at the door with all the tests in my arm. We stood in the door screaming and crying.



Me: The day she was born, how were the emotions ? 
Nicole: I was in labor for 13 hours.  When she came out her ulbilical ard was wrapped around her neck. The emotions in the room was very emotional. There were no dry eyes. We had several family and friends there.  The doctor told us if she had of moved an inch she could of died.




Me: Tell me about your daughter.

Nicole and Kevin: She is very dramatic, and she loves to dance. She is very comical, she always joking on people.






Me:Will there be other kids?

Nicole: We have been trying since Kiaya was 18 months old. We are not taking anything to prevent us from not getting pregnant. There are rough days. We have a god-child that comes and stay every weekend.


Me: What advice can you give to couples going through infertility?

Kevin: Just know the Lord haven't forsaken you. He still have a purpose. Even though you don't have bioligical kids, there are kids who need someone to play that parent role in their lives.
Nicole:Trust and remind yourself who you are in God.  Trust GOD.

  










Antionette andAlonzo
Me: How did you all meet? 
Both: We met through mutual

 Me: Was both side of your family supportive of your relationship?

Antoinette: We were both in school, our parents were very supportive.

Alonzo: Before following The Lord , I would bring other young women home, and I could see in my parents' face that they didn't approve, but the still treated them nicely. When I brought my wife home to them, they both approved her.

Me: How was your wedding?

Antoinette/Alonzo: We planned a wedding in one week. The wedding started late. We suppose to had started at 5:00 and it ended up starting at 9:45. The seamstress had wedding date wrong, on that day her sewing machine broke. We had to try stall the wedding to keep people there. We actually had the reception first. Our wedding colors were emerald green and good.

Me: What advice would you give someone who just got engaged or getting married? 

Alonzo: You can't get caught up with all the details. Be thankful and grateful what God has and is going do for you. You will always wish things would be different, but grateful for what you have.

Antoinette: You will always wish things would be different, but be grateful for what you have.

Me :What advice can you give to couples on communication?

Antoinette: It is normal to have disagreement. Talk through things. It will get better.

Alonzo:you have got to be willing to hear and listen to the other spouse. You must understand to be open to what your spouse is saying. Try walking in your spouse shoes, to get a little help, so you can understand. Husband be considerate. He has to make that decision.

Me:Can you give advice on the struggles of home chores?

Alonzo: Be patient with your spouse. You come into the marriage with a certain want you want things. You need patience to find out what the other spouse want and compromise.

Antoinette: Make sure you are not assuming that the spouse what you want. Make it clear how you think things should go or you want. Nobody is a mind reader. Continue to communicate.

Me: What advice can give couple about making your relationship a priority?
Both: We have a date night, once a week. We make an effort to share in spouse day.


Me: What are you thoughts about infertility in a relationship?

Antoinette: It's not worth it. It is not a solution it only bring in more problems to your friends and family. People can help encourage you. Have people in your lives that will tell you the truth.

Alonzo: That would be devastating. I have seen several families, excited about getting married. They still made bad decisions, and stepped on their marriage. They still worked on the marriage, with encouragement from people, and a lot of grace. Anybody can get caught up. Forgiveness is real. I pray that doesn't happen to us.

Me:What advice can you give to first time parents?

Alonzo: You have to appreciate and enjoy who they are individually.

Antoinette: Trust God for his wisdom.









"Losing Someone So Special"
I met Ebony many years ago, when I first started my journey as a photographer. She was one of my models. When I met Ebony to me she was very soft spoken. Her parents and her decided to share their journey of losing a son and a brother in a tragic car accident. Mr. Tony seemed very quiet and Mrs. Sandra personality reminded me of my own mother, very sweet and soft spoken just like Ebony. The interview made me get very emotional inside. I thank God for helping me keep it together. The interview became emotional, as they shared their heart break and laughter of their time with Tony Jr.

R.I.P Tony Jr. January 10, 1988- June 6, 2009
The family with Tony Jr.'s picture.




Me: How long have you all been married and how many kids do you have?
Mr.Tony and Mrs. Sandra: 25 years. We have 3 kids, but one is deceased.


Mr. Tony and Mrs. Sandra 



Me: How did you all meet?
Mr.Tony: One of my best friends were dating her sister. She tried to give me a hard time.

Me: Please give advice for 1st years married couple? 
Mrs. Sandra: Trust and put God first. Be sure to have good communication.

Mr. Tony: Keep your business inside your home.

Me: Tell me about your wedding: 
Mr. Tony: We actually got married at Sandra's mom house

Me: Tell me a little about your kids.
Mrs. Sandra: She is very beautiful, she is straight to the point, and please don't make her mad. (She laughed.)
Mr. Tony: I think she is a very smart young lady. Our 2nd child is Tony Jr., he had the biggest heart. He was loving. Everybody he came in contact with him loved him. He was hit and killed by an 18 wheeler, he was just turning 21 years old. ( Mrs. Sandra begins to cry). Tristen is our third child. He is hardheaded, daredevil and risky.


Mr. Tony and Ebony

Mrs. Sandra and Ebony embracing mother daughter moment.


Me: What advice can you give to parents who have lost a child? 
Mr.Tony: What gives me a comfort, is God gave His only child. It took a long to get over, but I know God will not put no more on you than you can handle.

Mrs. Sandra: Trust God and take one day at a time. It is a day by day process. It has been 4 years and it is still hard for me at times.

Me: The day he died how did you find out.
Mr. Tony: I had spoken to him on the phone before the accident. I had told him to be careful and I love him. Got a call from my wife that he had been in an accident and that he had died.

Mrs. Sandra: I was the last one to talk to him. I was at work and couldn't answer the phone. I finally called back and that is when my dad had told me had happen.

Ebony: I was at work, and when I went on break I saw my cousin had text and ask have I talked to him, and that is when he told me. My aunt came running into my job. I went blank. 

Me: Mrs. Sandra as a mother how did this make you feel?
Mrs. Sandra: I was really hurt. I love all my kids but he was my baby. I was mad at God. He was a sick little child. 

Me: As a sister to Tony Jr. how did it make you feel?
I felt lost and alone. We were really close.

Me: I remember when we met you were telling me something about he told you not cut your hair. 

Ebony: I wanted to be a model and start going to Atlanta. He told me don't cut my hair. When he died, I felt there was a weight on me, so I cut my hair.

Me :If he was here today, what would you tell him.
Mr. Tony and Mrs. Sandra: I love you.
Ebony: I love you and I am finally married. He told me I would never get married, because I was spoil.




Mrs. Sandra, Ebony, and Mr. Tony with Tony Jr. photo


Tony Jr. Was a true Auburn fan. He loved orange and blue. He loved strips shirts. He loved crop shoes, and Mrs. Sandra still have them to this day.. They say he loved to sing, but couldn't carry a tune. He had a loud embarrassing laugh. They mention he was a lady and didn't discriminate against women. Mrs. Sandra said he was good at cleaning and cooking.






"Beautiful in My EYES"
I love they way they are staring in each other eyes. No words need to be spoken for the love they share for each other.

When I started this, I asked people to nominate people. I had so many people nominate Matissa Moorer for being a great mother to her disabled daughter Kerstin. (Please ready some at the end of the interview)


Me: Tell a little about yourself.

Matissa Moorer: I am a single parent to my daughter, Kerstin.  I was employed as her paraprofessional/aid until my employment was terminated in May.  I had been her aid from day one of her starting school, I still do it, just unpaid.  I attend school with her everyday that she's able to attend.   Before I started going to school with her, I was employed full time but, because she has so many needs, I knew I had to be there with her to fully care for her and make sure she was included with peers of her age.   




Me:When you were pregnant did the doctor ever detect something maybe wrong?

Matissa Moorer There were venous leaks on an ultrasound.  Later I was told that there was the possibility that my daughter may have had a stroke while I was pregnant.  Later an MRI showed a brain deformity and delayed growth.  





Me:When did you notice or find out something was wrong with you daughter?

 Matissa Moorer : Around six months, after reading a "what to expect" book and Kerstin had not reached any of the milestones. She was not holding her head up and just not where books and charts said she should have been.





Me:  Tell us about your sweet daughter.

Matissa Moorer  Kerstin is my earthly angel.  Because of my daughter, her diagnoses (Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Scoliosis...), I've grown more considerate of others, I have been able to learn about things I had never given a thought to. 
Kerstin loves the colors pink and purple, she loves music, going to the movies and Target.  She is a well loved girl, she has yet to not make people she's come in contact with her, love her.  She's a happy child!


Kerstin enjoying the beautiful outdoors and smiling at her mother as she sing her a favorite song, "I wish you a merry Christmas".



 Me:I understand that on this upcoming Monday, November 4, 2013, your daughter will be undergoing surgery?

Matissa Moorer Yes, Kerstin will have a spinal fusion at Children's Hospital.  She will have rods and screws placed in her back because of her scoliosis.  She is expected to be in the hospital at least one week, maybe longer.   This will be her third surgery this year.




Me:When I posted my post of nominating a parent of a disabled child, I had so many people nominate you and say so many great things about you. What do you have to say about that?

Matissa Moorer:  I'm honored!  I had no idea!  I thank them!  I can not wait to see what has been said.  I feel blessed that people really admire the things I do for my daughter.  I just want to make sure that she has a life that is not so far from one she would have had, had there been no Cerebral Palsy! 



Me: Many people  will read your story, other parents who has a child with cerebral palsy or another disability, as strong woman and mother what advice can you give to all mothers?

Matissa Moorer:   Never give up on your child(ren), support them, know your rights as their parent(s), know their rights.  Never ever settle for less.  Be your child's voice! Know that it won't be easy but it is worth it when your child smiles at you because they love you and know that you love them!

Matissa & Kerstin has to travel back and forth to Birmingham for doctor visits, so any donation can  help. Please follow the link below.


Kerstin's GoFundMe account can be found here:  http://www.gofundme.com/4ctrjc

If you would like to keep up with Kerstin on the blog that her mother Matissa, please follow the link below:
My blog is:  Life: Just a mom raising a child with "special needs": http://cpaware.blogspot.com/ 





  Just a a few of the people who nominated Matissa below:


I would like to nominate a special needs mother. Her name Matissa Moorer. She is the mother of beautiful little girl with CP who is about to have her third surgery next month. She is an outstanding mother who has endured so much over the years. But through it all and by God's grace she has made. Thanks for your time and all that you do.
Thanks,
LaFonda



-I would like to nominate a special needs mother. Her name Matissa Moorer. She is the mother of beautiful little girl with CP who is about to have her third surgery next month. She is an outstanding mother who has endured so much over the years. But through it all and by God's grace she has made. Thanks for your time and all that you do.
                                                    ~LaFonda

I was just informed that you are seeking nominations for a photo shoot between a parent and a child with a disability. I would like to nominate my sister, Mattisa Moorer, and my niece, Kerstin Sanders. My niece, Kerstin, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at six months of age. When she began attending school at fours years old, my sister quit her job of five years so that she could attend school with Kerstin; she is now in the sixth grade and Mattisa has gone to school with her every day that she could attend. While advocating for my niece, Mattisa has taken advantage of every opportunity to not only become a fierce advocate for Kerstin, but for all children with disabilities. She actively attends the local school board meetings, and presses for systemic changes that make the local schools more accessible for persons with disabilities.
Next Monday, Kerstin will undergo her third surgery this year. Once she recovers, I think this photo session will be a much needed "smile session" for both Kerstin and Mattisa.
Thank you for the opportunity to nominate them!
                                            ~Regina

I nominate Mattisa Moorer.  Mattisa is the mother of Kerstin. She suffers from cerebral palsy.  Kiersten has undergone several surgeries in the last couple months and still has a couple more to go.  Mattisa is a wonderful mother who fights not only for Kerstin but for all children with disabilities.  If anybody deserves this,  she does.

                                                ~Kingaita



Good morning Ma'am. I would love to nominate my.classmate Mattisa Moorer. She is a 35 year old single mother with an eleven year old disabled daughter names Kerstin. Just a little background on Mattisa. She's an advocate for her daughter as well as other people with disabilities. She is one of the strongest women I've known. Kerstin will be having her third surgery this year on Monday. Mattisa recently raised the awareness of how important it is continually maintain accessibility for wheelchair bound people. She made a plea to the central office staff in Lowndes County. Her plea was left unrecognized. She then wrote a letter to the newspaper there bringing it to full view for the public. Then and only then did the Central office staff fix the recommendations at Hayneville Middle School in September 2013. Mattisa has also been her own advocate in raising money necessary to cover the financial cost of Kerstin's surgery. She has also started a blog to share her trials to help encourage others facing the same issues.Mattisa, my classmate rocks and she has been a rock for those who do not have a voice. On this day I nominate my friend, my classmate, a mother with a disabled child.
           ~Angela Derrico-Humphrey







"Think of Life as a Lemon"

I met Ms. Michelle on last year. I have met many amazing people with amazing stories.





"Every since I've had cancer my health has been down hill but my head is high. Life throws us lemons which you can suck on them and make a sour face forever or add a little sugar and make a nice sweet refreshing drink to add a smile to your face"

 I was a teen mother at 14 and had my beautiful daughter Brittany. 
Michelle and daughter Brittany


I was a single mother until I met Troy in 1996 and we got married. Brittany was born on July 23rd 1990. Troy and I were married on July 12, 1996.

Michelle and Stephanie


 I went on to become a nurse.  In 2004 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and I had multiple medical problems that caused me to gain weight to the tune of 457 lbs. as you can see from my album the new and old me. I had the gastric bypass in March of 2010 and now I weigh 166 lbs. almost 300 lbs. lost. I went from a size 32 to a size 12. Due to my health problems I had to stop working in 2007 and file for disability. I now have a 21 year old and almost 13 year old daughter and a 16 month old grandson and I'm 35 years old. I'm pretty proud to be a cancer survivor and a weight loss success story too.
                   I had a routine health exam for work in January of 2004 and the doctor told me I needed to have the knot on my neck checked out. Of course I put it off being that I had just had a cold thinking it was swollen glands. Over time the what I later discovered was a tumor increased dramatically in size forcing me to seek medical attention. My regular doctor stated it was no big deal just a goiter but I insisted on seeing a specialist. I saw the specialist which in turn sent me for testing that his staff lost the results of in July 2004. When I called for my results I was told I was fine. As the tumor expanded it began to cut off my breathing and cause difficulty in swallowing. I made several trips to the ER with no help. Finally in November of 2004 I received an urgent call at work from my specialist demanding I get my husband and come to his office ASAP. We were there in 45 minutes where I was told I had a tumor on my thyroid that had caused my thyroid to burst and was hemorrhaging into my chest and he was 90% sure it was cancer but I needed to have emergency surgery to have the thyroid removed and have it sent to the lab for conformation. One week later the surgeon confirmed I had cancer and I had to start radiation therapy.

Michelle, Stephanie, and Haylee


"Losing Many Babies, but Gaining an Angel"


I was pregnant with triplets when one of the babies died causing me to go into labor early and then all three died because it was to early lung maturity in fetuses doesn't come until the end of the 7th month and I wasn't far enough along. I also had other miscarriages before I had Haylee because of thyroid issues all around 4 months in.

Haylee 14


I briefly interviewed Mrs. Michelle and Mr. Troy, who has been married 18 years  on giving advice to young married couple. 
"Be honest and faithful to each other. As far as communication, try to be calm, and let everyone say their piece. In infedility, people always think the grass is always greener, but it never. Don't do it, it is not worth it.




"God Has the Last Say"

Vonquecia and Edward


When I met Vonquecia and Edward, they were very quiet and nervous.  When I got home later that day,  Vonquecia email to inform me they were trying not get to emotional. Please be in prayer for this family that God gives them an awesome miracle..
Here is their story and journey
We have been married for 4 years and together for 9 years, and we currently don't have any kids.After being with in a relationship for five years having unprotected sex ( not necessarily trying to conceive) nothing ever happened. When we got married we tried for a year on our own with no success, then I visited my obgyn and she did some test and found out I had an ovarian cyst . Once I got rid of the cyst she insured me that there wasn't any other problems but we still was unable to conceive. After all that we was fed up and decided to take it a step further so my husband was first, he went to the urologist in Birmingham and they diagnosed him with retro-ejaculation but he said it was a simple fix if he just take Sudafed. On that same day I visited the reproductive specialist and she diagnosed me with PCOS meaning I don't ovulate. So for a year we tried to conceive while I was taking fertility pills and he was doing his regimen of Sudafed but once again unsuccessful. The next year we did those same regimen but up the dose of my meds and instead of the conventional way of conceiving we had an IUI done I think that was the longest two weeks ever waiting to see those results. The day was finally here and the test was negative. We were so hurt and disappointed that's whenI shared with my mom what we have been going thru and the her advice was to" seek God and it will happen". And I know and believe that but I the same time I'm wondering why us when we try to everything right. That  same year my best friend  called and said she was pregnant and wasn't sure if she wanted to have, I was so angry with her because her she is with something I want and can't achieve but not if she could keep it. So after hearing her say that I shared with her what I have been going thru and that its a blessing to become a parent because I may never be in that position.  So she decided to keep her baby and although I was happy for her I was secretly bitter at the same time because it seems as if people who don't really want kids are blessed with the most precious gift. Anyway this year we started the process over new test and all only to get more devastating news the problems have worsen so we immediately tried IUI again (negative) . And the Doctor informed us that our best chance are IVF which is very EXPENSIVE or trying a sperm donor ( which I would never agree to).  Edward's family always ask us when are we having kids and his granddad always says " Yall need to have a boy to carry on the Wilson's name". 

"Edward attends every doctor visit with me, and he's my best friend," said Vonquecia.








"I Defeated the Odds"




Ms. Chrystal is a ball of fire and a diva. She has such a sweet spirit, and when I tell you this woman is a believer in God. I had never met Ms. Crystal until the day of our interview. Lets just say  I felt like I had known her for a long time. She is very outspoken, strong willed, SINGLE, and fabulous. She is avaliable gentlemen: however let me just tell you, you better have your "A" game right. 


I am Chrystal Calhoun and I am 40 years old. I have 3 kids ages 22, 19, and 17, and I am a 4 years breast cancer survivor. I first found my lump, when I was 35 years old. The first thing that came to my mind, if I die what would happen to my kids.  They were a lot younger then, so my main concern was with me being a single parents was what happen to my kids if I was to die. I am not orignally from Montgomery, all my family is back home, in another part of Alabama. I wanted to make sure that I fought for my kids.  When I found the lump I was actually in the shower doing a self exam, which is good is good for all women. I know they encourage us that when we get to  the age of 40 to have regular mamomgrams, but check yourself, because if I hadn't checked myself I wouldn't be here telling my story now. When I found the lump I instantly knew something was wrong because it was just big, and there, it didn't move.  I made an appointment for the next day, and when I went to the doctor, the way they constantly rushed me through every appointment, let me know that something was wrong.  On November 6, 2008, is when I found out I had cancer. I didn't cry or break down I just kind of sat there when the doctor told me I had cancer. I remembered calling my brother, once  I left the doctor office and I told him hey, I just call to tell the doctor just told me I had breast cancer. Instead of him breaking down, he told me you have two options fight or die. So when he told me that I was like I have two options fight or die.  My first chemo treatment was the day after Thanksgiving in 2008. They had already briefed me on the fact that I would lose my  hair and a lot of other side affect. It was okay because I like to wear weave anyway. I went to my first chemo treatment by myself. A lot of things concerning breast cancer, I did by myself. I did not want my kids to see that part of because it is gruesome to go into the chemo room, and have to sit there. You never know if the person next to you will get sick or how your own body would handle the treatment. The first one was okayI heard alot 
of horror stories on what it would do to me, and how I would fill. I just thank God that none of that was true.  One thing people need to know is that each body is different, and each body will handle the medicine different. Through prayer, grace, and faith I didn't get sick or throw up as much as everyone said I would. I did in fact lose my hair like the doctor said I would, but that was okay. I like to wear weave anyways. My biggest concern was I just didn't want to die at age of 35. I felt like I had so much to give. I wanted to get married, watch my kids get married, and have grandkids to spoil and send back home to their parents. I just didn't want to die. I didn't let the word cancer kill me. I didn't let it kill my spirit,my faith, or take away my smile. I felt like it had taken away so much other stuff, but I wasn't going let it take away me even, if it was going take away my breast. I went to the cancer cernter, and my doctor, who is fabulous told me that we could do surgery first and chemo last or chemo first and surgery last. I chose to do chemo first, and in the end, instead having vacestomy like they said, I end up having a lympnonpty. Chemo actually shrunk the lump and I got to keep my breast. I had to throught eh whole 9 yard, chemo, radiation, and surgery, but I still smiling 4 years later.I am here to encourage someone, you can defeat cancer. You have to have faith and you have stay prayed up. Don't let anyone come to you and tellyou something negative, just keep moving. Please don't never stop praying. I believe my faith in God is one thing that got me through it all. I prayed a lot. When I didn't feel like I would press my way to church.   Family members can be there, even though there is nothing you do to take the pain away. Just be there to listen and hold them when they cry. Sit at the cancer center with them because it gets lonely in there. Take them shopping so you can relieve of the their everyday. Please be there and don't let them fight alone. My words of encouragement to someone who is maybe fighting cancer is even though they tell you, you have cancer, you don't have to die. Cancer is not a death sentence, it just means you have to find strength to keep fighting even when it seems like it is not worth fighting for
Don't give up to last round.








"Finding God In All This"




Anissa is hilarious. I know Anissa from church, New Life Church of God in Christ. She is fiesty and will say whatever comes to her mind. I appreciate that because she will tell you the truth.  She is single gentlemen, but in her voice "I don't have time for foolishness".  Please read her journey of being a single mother of 2 boys with autism. 


Hello my name is Anissa McCants and I have two boys DeAndre (18 years old) and JaDarius (13 years old).  Both are diagnosed with Autism.  Autisms is a brain disorder affecting communication and social interactions.  It occurs before three years of age.  Signs of autism include repetitive behaviors, impairments in verbal and non-verbal communication and difficulties with socialization.
DeAndre was diagnosed at the age of two with Autism.  He was born normal and was displaying normal milestones up until the age of 15 months.  The same day he took his Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR) vaccination he was never the same.  After leaving the doctor’s office he began to cry uncontrollable.  Being a new Mom I took him back to the doctor thinking there was something that I did wrong.  Days went by he wouldn’t eat; he had a very high fever, diarrhea and was throwing.  After being hospitalized for dehydration I was informed that he had Roto Virus.  All the above symptoms were common with this virus.  But there was something different about him.  He was no long talking and didn’t walk.  He began to make these strange sounds instead of recognizable words.  All I knew was that something was terribly wrong with my baby.Two months later DeAndre began to walk again but he still wasn’t talking.  I took him to his pediatrician and he told me that he had read an article about Autism and suspected this is what is wrong.  I took him to Birmingham, Alabama to St. Vincent’s hospital to see a pediatric neurologist that confirmed the pediatricians suggested diagnosis.  We went from completely normal to a child that would not sleep, had now poor/strange eating habits and severe behavior changes.  The hardest thing to deal with was having to allow him to be put on medication after nothing else seemed to help with his mood swings and at times bizarre behavior. Making loud screeching sounds, hands flapping, making strange faces and fixating on twirling objects.  Talking about my world changed overnight, it really did change overnight!





JaDarius is my Baby! When I had JaDarius I was married to their Father.  Concentrating on everything with Andre and trying to be a wife was a full time job all by itself.  JaDarius was a blessing, he was a quiet baby that every Mother desires.  DeAndre loved his little brother and showed his love towards him every now and again with a kiss on the forehead.  Seemed like everything was getting a little better with time but JaDarius was not talking like he should by the age of two.  Keeping in mind I was not accustom to “normal milestones.”  Later to find out JaDarius had Autism as well.  




Talking about this took a tole on me that was indescribable.  
I go to church every Sunday.  This is all so overwhelming.  But it took me many years to realize I was in Church but there was no God in me.  I didn’t believe this could have happened again.  But it did.  I remember a mother at my church saying to me “God will not put more on you than you can bare.” Well I must be a lot stronger than I realize because I felt like giving up.  Knowing that giving up wasn’t an option.  Many years have gone by.  Yes I went through a lot.  Dealing with the emotional side of all this.  Asking God why my children?  Why is this happening to me?  And a failed marriage on top of all this.  Well today I say why not me.  This journey has put Anissa in the right place at the right time to find God in all of this.  If I had not been through this long trial I would not have known or loved God like I do.  I would not change a thing.  When did I learn that I needed to start taking care of myself?  Somewhere I lost me and not even realizing it. The day I felt a severe pain in my chest and thought I was having a heart  attack.  At that very moment I knew I was dying.  Having a loving and very supportive family, amazing friends and the best church family in the world was not enough.  I had to cry out to God for myself.  Life means only what we want it to mean.  I lived a life for everyone else but seemed to have lost me in all of this.  At that very moment I knew that I had a lot more living to do.  I asked God please don’t let me die let me live because my children need me.  God had to get my attention.  I am so thankful that he honored my request.  My only heart’s desire was to be the best mother to my children but I didn’t realize that God wanted Anissa to love on Him the way I loved on my children and everyone else around me. I started taking charge of every area of my life.  Walking, Reading My Word and Praying more is my routine.  After many years of suffering silently from depression.  What do I mean by silently suffering? Wearing a smile but crying in my heart and crying myself to sleep every night.  When there is no one else around God is always there waiting on us to give it all to Him. Did this happen overnight of course not it took until Anissa was ready to give all my emotions and all the problems that went with it to Him and not take it back.  
Today DeAndre is still nonverbal BUT speaks volumes.  He is the most amazing child in the world.  Everyone that knows him loves him.  He has his own unique way of touching your heart.  DeAndre knows how to swim and has a fascination with drum and all types of music.  JaDarius talks up a storm.  He loves to learn new things.  JaDarius  loves to swims, drawing, dancing, learning to play the trombone, archery, horseback riding (Gold Medal winner), and is improving with his reading all the time.  Looking back at all the hell I've been through to get this point.  It was worth it all!!  My doctor has given me a clean bill of health.  He asked “Anissa what are you doing, you have lost 25 pounds and this is the lowest your blood pressure has ever been?”  I responded “I let people and things go that didn’t matter, I let God have His way and he healed me and gave me another chance to live. To God Be the Glory!”In the near future I will be completing my book “I Can See It In Your Eyes.” Prayerfully this book will help families having to deal with a love one diagnosed with Autism. I have learned in everything give thanks!! 




Here is a link to learn more about autism: 





Thanks for viewing. I hope you have enjoyed the awesome stories/testimonies from some great people. Be here for next month! God bless! If you ever want to share an event that has happen in your life that has changed your life, email me f.photography09@yahoo.com.













  













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