Wendy said it best when she sang to the lost-boys, "What makes mothers all that they are? You might as well ask, ‘What makes a star?’ Ask your heart to tell you her worth - your heart will say, ‘Heaven on Earth.’”
I need to express the love I have for my Mom and all Moms in a different sort of way this year for Mother’s Day. Before I tell you about it - I'd like to share how I was inspired.
The past year has been a tough one for my Mom with the loss of a very close loved one. I have watched her in times of great difficulty – love, advocate, educate, get treated poorly, counsel, provide a shoulder for others to cry on, cook meals, drive long distances, work on sleepless nights, miss work for the sake of helping others, among many, many other selfless things – not for money, or kudos, but just because it’s who she is. As I was making this list of admirable things my mom was doing - I realized that they were all the same things she’s regularly done for me for the last 27 years. She does it all, anything for me, whenever I need it! Just because she’s my Mom! Just like so many other awesome and beautiful Moms here on earth or watching down on us in heaven. So, thank you Mom! Thank you for not pressing charges when I forged your signature signing out of high school early, for not disowning me during my pre-teen and teen years, for sticking with me when I was down and out, and for inspiring me to do things for others without an expectation of something in return. You are great, and fantastic, and I love you a lot!
Besides my own Mom, I have also been really moved and inspired by two Mothers in the community who have been enduring so much over the last several months…
A family friend of ours, Raquel Hulster, has been caring for her son Cody, who fell ill in January. Cody was hospitalized immediately and placed in a medically induced coma due to unexplained seizures that could not be stopped or prevented. Over the last couple of weeks Cody has made progress! Small-steps, but steps nonetheless! They are slowly lowering doses of certain medications to try to wake Cody up. You might remember this courageous family from several years ago when I did a portrait fundraising event for Cody’s younger brother Seth, who was diagnosed with stage four Thyroid Cancer. Throughout both tragedies this family has shown such resiliency and they’ve proved that miracles exist. Raquel’s strength for her sons and her family is remarkable. She is such a beautiful and amazing mother. Her strength, courage, and faith in her children is unwavering – she is a true inspiration to me.
The second Mother I’d like to pay homage to is Jenna Hinman. You may personally know her or have read her story from the Facebook page Prayers for Jenna. Jenna gave birth to two premature twin girls and was immediately diagnosed with a rare cancer called Chariocarcinoma. Her babies are doing well as Jenna continues to recover. I do not know the Hinman family personally, but can see that this is an amazing family – and I’d like to do something for Jenna in honor of her first Mother’s Day.
Both families have many expenses such as medical bills, groceries and necessities for day-to-day life to support their children, gas to drive to and from the hospital, and lodging, among many other things. I have wished and prayed for the words I could say to these families to take the pain away but I don't know if there are words. Today, I realized that I can't do it alone, I can only do it with the help of the community. What I have is a camera, and my voice to ask the community to give these shining stars and their families some support. Please be a part of my Three Lakes, Three Dates: Portraits for Super Hero Moms portraiture sessions taking place on three weekends in the month of May.
I will be visiting Canandaigua, Seneca and Cayuga lakes on three dates in May: Saturday May 10th at Cayuga Lake: Cass State Park, Saturday May 17th at Canandaigua Lake: Lower Onanda Park, and May 24th at Seneca Lake; Seneca Lake State Park. Please inquire by email at ashley@ashleyupdykephotography to sign up for a specific time slot.
$50 for a 15 minute session with 1 digital edited image of your choice ($85 value).
$100 for a 30 minute session and 3 digital edited images of your choice ($155 value).
Partial proceeds will go to both families.
So! Please, feed two birds with one scone; purchase a portrait session to honor a mom in your life, for some shots of your children, of you, of your loved ones – whatever you want – and know that you’re also contributing to a good cause: Awesome (tenacious, and miracle-working) Moms!
The first ten clients to book will get a $10 credit to a future booking with Ashley in 2014.
There will be two large cards and donation boxes for supporters to sign who want to send well wishes or contribute in other ways.
There will be a reschedule date in the event that we have a glorious upstate New York fickle weather day on any of the event dates.
Those who have had their portraits done will have the option to purchase more than your package-purchased digital image(s), and/or the entire lot of unedited images from your family’s session with partial proceeds going to both families.
If you'd like to purchase a spot as a gift certificate for someone else I can email the certificate so that you can have it instantly and present it to the recipient in any way you'd like.
If you’d like to learn more about either of these stories, or you’re unable to participate in the portrait sessions but would like to make a donation to either of the families you can do so by visiting Words for Cody and/or Prayers for Jenna. Thank you so much.