Life is About Lifting Others Up

Lessons from my fathers: my thought process, without photos

First thought:

One of the many lessons I learned from my daddy was that in life, you must be good to others, and lift them up when you can.  I watched countless times as he would put himself out there to help a stranger for no good reason other than, “it was the right thing to do.”   He would not even speak about it, just do what was needed, and move about his life as though it was a part of his daily routine.

Second thought:

I know that for many, hiring a professional photographer can be an expensive endeavor that requires planning, saving, and sacrifice of both time and resources.   My grandfather has albums upon albums of photos of his 9 children growing up.  Even  at a time in history when it was not affordable for the average person to take photographs – he did.  He traded a Buick for a Contax camera, and for that – I am able to step back in time through his black and whites.   My daddy also picked up this habit.  We have mountains of photographs capturing monumental family moments like our road trip across America to find the best scoop of ice cream.  From my fathers, I learned the importance that a single frame can have in telling a lifetime of stories.

Third thought:

I am fortunate to have been cared for by such men.  It is more than I deserve.  My daddy was and is the role model that I aspire to be every time I think about my two daughters.  My grandfather is my best friend, and has taught me the value of humility, hard work and the importance of family.  I couldn’t imagine a world without them.

Unfortunately, there are some children out there who grow up without the benefit of a father.  I have a special place in my heart for the women who bravely raise their kids on their own when…  life happens.

My mother-in-law raised two beautiful and accomplished women on her own.  She did everything that she could and provided for them in every single way they needed.  I cannot count the number of sleepless nights I’ve had, taking turns with my wife, bouncing and rocking my babies because they could not find rest in their beds.  Then, the next morning I would have a full day of work, only to continue the cycle in the evening.  Again, I couldn’t imagine doing it alone, but I can tell by the way my wife cares for our kids that she was held, and she was loved as a baby.

Final thought:

After I graduated college and returned to Houston, I felt God calling me to to find community.   I started to attend a church that offered, to my surprise and joy, many complimentary services to single mothers – such as a mechanic on site to help them repair their cars.  I thought: that is the kind of tender Father that I want to serve:  One who looks out for the hurting and broken.   From that day, I have felt a mission to make this part of my ministry.

I feel like every family should have the same chance at memories like I did as a kid with photographs adorning the halls of the Chee Compound.  One thing I would like to do is serve those single mothers who might not be able to afford me as their family photographer.

I know being a mother is a thankless 24-7 full-time job.  I would not be the person I am without my mother.  She is the heart, soul, and glue of our family and she would do everything humanly and unhumanly possible to care for us.  I’ve never seen so much devotion from one person to one sole task… but I definitely felt loved every single day, to this day.  If I were to call her for help right now, she’d drop everything and be over instantly.  So to all of you mothers – “Thank you very much!”

With my limited schedule, I’m going to start off with 2 families this year, and then figure out how to do more.  This is not a viral marketing campaign like most “giveaway sessions.”  I am not looking for anything other than the chance to serve a few single mothers out there.   It is going to be handled as discreetly as I can think of:  through e-mail.  This may not be the best way to do it, but it will allow the family a bit of anonymity, and afterwards the choice if they want me to blog about them or not (no pressure).   I will gift those 2 selected:  a 2-hour weekend or weekday portrait session, and a custom box of 4×6 prints of the final images.  If you know me, I take great pride in my family sessions and hope this will be a fun experience.

Here are the guidelines:

– FEEL FREE TO NOMINATE YOURSELF

– send me an email to projectmom@dcheephotography.com

– In the title put the first and last name of the single mom

– Include contact phone number, email address of the mom, and then include her story and photos.

– I will select 2 single moms from the entries.

– Deadline: May 5, family will be selected on May 10 (mother’s day).

– the session must take place around/near Houston

– I know that every one of your entries will be special, and I thank you for your time, in advance, for helping me connect with these special women.

– Okay, Get workin!

– Lots of text, so thanks for reading this far.

– p.s. if you did not already wake up this morning thinking you needed to call your mom and thank her for putting up with you all these years… please hurry and do that now.  k. thanks.

Best wishes,