Food Saved My Life; Bryant's Story

She distinctly remembers a night in 2008 as she lay lying on her bed, crying and realizing that she may never be able to function the same again. 
Though Bryant was in her early twenties, she was loosing proper neurological function; and she was terrified. 

Bryant had health problems for most of her life; sleep trouble,  immune dysfunction, digestive problems, and skin issues. But in May of 2008, these problems were magnified when she unknowingly moved into a house with toxic mold and soon after she found out she also had Lyme Disease. These combined ailments damaged her nerves, joints, digestive system, and most significantly, the frontal lobe of her brain.

Her health issues went from debilitating to disabling and potentially life threatening within a short amount of time. 

She recalls; "Experiencing neurological problems is what woke me up.  I wouldn't take it anymore, I refused to be sick. I had put up with all of my other ailments. I had accommodated to a level of poor health and accepted my limitations (with intermittent bursts of trying to find a doctor who could help).  The neurological problems hit and I was done with that approach. I refused to stay sick."
 She was limited financially and the doctors she did see couldn't offer much help. 
It was then she realized she had to take her health into her own hands. So she set out. Determined to get her health, and her life back.
The lack of medical care turned out to be a blessing in disguise. After taking her health into her own hands she spent hours researching and realized she had a lot of the same symptoms as an MS patient. Through her research she found a study that revealed that a low fat diet can help MS patients and that gluten can cause some neurological problems. 

Bryant  took on a low fat diet, cutting out oil and gluten. She made these changes in her diet and immediately started to feel better. After experimenting with different foods to figure out what worked and what didn't she cleaned up her diet, went raw, added green juices and went to a holistic health clinic. 

There weren't options available for Bryant- so she found and created her own. This decision to completely overhaul her diet was a new beginning for her.  

"Food saved my life." 

Bryant on her life now: "I am unrecognizable compared to myself in 2008.  I know my body inside and out, and I know how to take care of it. I can do anything I want and I'm getting healthier all the time! I am so grateful!  I know how to find information, advocate for myself,  and improve my health. And, what I'm really excited about is that I'm helping others do the same.  I know firsthand that lifestyle changes can change the course of a person's health and life, and that it doesn't require a lot of resources to make that happen. "

Bryant is inspired by a book called Brains on Fire, you can get your copy here.

Because of the things she went through, Bryant has recently set out on a new path in life, dedicated to helping other people know that if you change your food, you can change your life. She has left her job to pursue a career in her true passions- writing and speaking. Her movement is called Free to Be Well, and through it she will share her experiences and educate and empower others to take charge of their health."

If you are interested in connecting with Bryant, feel free to contact her here:

Thank you Bryant! For sharing your story and your journey, we are all better off. It was an honor capturing this beautiful moment in your life.  Thank you for bringing chard to a photo shoot and challenging me in new ways.

A snowy proposal, fruit snacks & an heirloom; Amy & JM.

It was their second date. That was when JM knew that he was going to marry her. 

They were both into hiking, so for their first friend date, they hiked camelback at five in the morning. Even though Amy could hardly see his face as the sun had yet to rise, she knew the comfort she felt with this guy was nothing to be overlooked. JM high-fived her when they got to the top where they split fruit snacks and an orange and exchanged casual banter. Amy thought that he was very sweet and loved the fact that he made her laugh. 

But the magic started on their second 'official' date. They chose the Peralta Trail to hike this time. During the hike Amy revealed that her favorite chocolate bar was an almond joy. This set the ball in motion... Then she mentioned that her dream adventure was Nepal... getting closer..... oh and then she told JM that they were kindred spirits. And that. was. it. 

JM knew that this was the girl that would walk down the aisle to him one day....

And that one day is coming soon for them! In keeping with the mountain for special moments, JM chose a snowy ampitheater in scenic Colorado (he had to up his game and mountain choice for a moment like this!!). He had written a letter for Amy to read that outlined their relationship, his love for her and his desire to marry her. Filled with emotion, Amy couldn't get through the letter as her eyes filled with tears, so JM poured out his love for her and asked for her hand in marriage. 

The coolest part? This man planned ahead and not only got permission from her parents, Dave & Sandy, but he proposed with her grandmas ring. It was the perfect moment. 

~Thank you both, for letting me capture your love in this special time of life.  JM you are one lucky guy and I wish you both the best God filled lives and futures together. 

love this one of her...

 Creating beautiful spontaneous music together. 

Thanks again you guys!

Know someone getting married? Send them here! 

The Bender Family!

I love it when families bring things that let them fall into natural states. For the Bender family this meant a couple gloves, a softball and a hoola hoop. Oh yes. 

Its the best when my clients  literally forget I'm even there. Its during these moments I get the truest forms of who they are. Those enjoyable little  inbetween bits.

You could tell that Grace and Scott do this a lot.  I know in years to come Grace will look back on this time with her dad in the backyard throwing a ball around and cherish it. And I love it for her already.

Such a sweet family!

Thank you Anne and Scott for letting me capture your beautiful family!

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Worn in jeans and settling from the storm

We were seniors in high school. Ashley had always been smaller than me, and this is the one time it paid off. She bought Abercrombie jeans one size too big and didn't feel like taking them back, so I bought them off of her, for half the price she paid. Cause im a good friend like that. score.

I still have those jeans, and though they get buried behind the more recent purchases of skinny jeans... when i clean out my closet i come across them. and as much as i want to get rid of them, the faded pockets, worn through crotch and rip by the knee bring me back to a time in life that i love. They are my ya ya pants if you will. yes. that just happened.

 I try them on when I find them. At times, they have fit, snug and breathable in all the right places. Worn in and comfortable. At other times, they feel awkward, too tight, or just not me, like that person that bought them was so different from who i am now.

I think life is like that. Sometimes we feel at odds with ourselves, awkward and out of place. Disconnected from who we were and how it relates to now. And then there are seasons we feel at ease in ourselves, we come back to the things that remind of us of who we really are and what we love.

This last 2 years of life has been a bit of a shock; from grad school, living in Africa, then moving back to Phoenix and living with my parents, getting engaged then marrying Ricky on the beach... It was all a whirlwind and i think pieces of myself got caught up in the fury. But as i unwind for the storm , i settle into the ease and flow of who I am. And the bits of things that make me who i am, begin to make their calm descent back into my life.

my creative side. the driven me. the girl who gets things done, fast and is involved in 20 different things at the same time. she's back. I remember this girl, i like her.

The worn out hems and faded patches are welcomed.

The jeans fit tonight. and. its. good.

Matt and Ashley

Ashley teared up as we walked from the Bride's room to the auditorium where Matt awaited her. She quickly batted at her eyes to keep them from running her mascara, and took a deep breath. All her bridesmaids wished her luck, 'oohed' and 'ahhed' as she turned back one last time with a quick wave.

His back turned and arms crossed against his black tuxedo, awaiting to see his bride for the first time that day. And as she approached you could see his senses rise as he heard the swishing of her white dress approaching... He turned as she tapped him on the shoulder and held back tears as he took her in...

Such a beautiful day with two new people dedicating their lives to loving the other. I was so blessed to help shoot this amazing day for Ashley and Matt !

Their home church where they were married. 

A quite moment before the wedding began. Ashley sitting with her mom and bridesmaids,  keeping her calm. 

Seeing his bride walk down the aisle... 

Such a gorgeous new couple!