A Miracle in the Making

Have you ever had a thought or an idea that just keeps knocking on the door of your heart? Perhaps a thought not yet fully formulated; like a puzzle with missing pieces. I had one recently. It was a simple idea that hung around for a few weeks before realizing how to pursue it.

The idea sparked after I attended the annual Soulumination photographer’s banquette up in Seattle in February. They are an amazing non-profit based in Seattle but expanding to the Tacoma area and are in need of photographers to join their team. After learning of their mission a couple months ago, I was inspired to jump on board. Soulumination serves families with children facing life-threatening conditions and families with terminally-ill parents who have children ages 18 and younger. The gift of photography is one way we get to honor families and Soulumination is a platform I’m thankful to be part of.

About a month after the banquette I was sitting in my car waiting to pick up my son from school and that thought came knocking again. I was reminded of our friends, the Allen family, who are facing difficult circumstances. I’ve been praying for them but wanted to do more. I thought, “What if I offered them a free family photography session, or perhaps refer them to Soulumination.”

In the mean time and not even a week later, I received a text from Soulumination informing me of a family shoot opportunity. I checked the session date, I was available and so I said, “Yes, I can do it”. Later that day, I opened the email containing the details for the shoot and I see the ALLEN’S NAMES. I was like, what?!? How cool is this. Out of the 60+ photographers who could have potentially been given this opportunity, I end up with the honor of photographing this amazing family.

I later learned from the Allen’s that they heard about Soulumination through the medical staff where their daughter, Oona, is receiving radiation treatments and then decided to set up a family session.

Meet Oona. She’s a tenacious, determined, joy-filled 2 year old on a mission to capture hearts. She sure has captured mine, just look at her sweet face and eyes filled with wonder.

Almost a year ago from the date these pictures were taken, the Allen family received news of a tumor the size of a small orange that had developed on Oona’s brain. She had 5x the amount of fluid in her head than that of an adult, which had also spread down her spine. This was the beginning of what became a very difficult road for our dear friends. A road with hill tops of a greater hope and valleys that only offered disappointments. But despite the ups, downs, discomforts and unknowns, one thing remains unchanged – the character of God. The unfailing, unrelenting, unconditional love God has for Oona will never change.

I’m reminded from the Word that the battle is the Lords. 2 Chronicles 20:17 is for Oona,

17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”

As Oona currently receives her last round of radiation to her brain stem making it her lifetime max dose, they will continue radiation to the other parts of her body where the disease has spread. And in the waiting, we believe there is a miracle in the making.
“When my mom smiles at me it’s like a hug to my soul”

After taking several family shots, Oona was over being told where to stand or who needed to hold her. In keeping the session fun, we just went along with what Oona wanted to do. This girl loves to be on the move and just wanted to walk.

Chad & Anne:
The life you choose to live is one marked by trust and an assurance in God’s Word. You cling to the truths and promises of God and declare His goodness during times of victory and in the face of adversity. Your believing along with those walking with you, have been building Oona up as she fights through this disease. May you be carried by the strength of the Lord as the sun rises upon each new day. Your steps guided by wisdom and hearts attuned to the melodies of Holy Spirit. You exude perseverance with every step that hits this hard road and still the love of Jesus pours out of you. As you look at your family pictures, may the moments captured be a reminder of God’s faithfulness, the tight bond you have as a family and the joys that come with the morning.

Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Isaiah 41:10
fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalm 121
‘I lift my eyes to the hills–where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.’

2 Cor 4:8-9
‘We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.’

Isaiah 40:31
31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

written by Oona’s mom Anne

“It feels like a curtain has been pulled back and you see the Himalayan mountain range…and a voice tells you this is your path. Not over it but the length of it. With all it’s hardships, unknowns, and discomfort.
In my mind the pictured played out like this.
The voice said, 
Dad, you will rise early and stay up late praying prayers that move mountains. You will lead the way and cover your family to keep them safe. 
Mother, you will sing loudly during the day to keep them focused and even louder at night and in the valleys to remove fear.
And you will teach your children how to pray, how to see God in hard times, to do hard things and not lose their way.”

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