The Schoens are so dear to my heart. Their hospitality, generosity, consistent encouragement, and authenticity make them such a delight to be around. Getting to capture their joy and hilarious dynamics with my camera is always a good time.
Junine, the sweet, faithful, loving mother of the bunch, was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year, and when I heard the news, my heart sannnk. (Praise the Lord it was treatable.) They asked me to do a family shoot before she started chemotherapy, and of course my answer was one-thousand-percent YES. What an honor to be able to photograph them in this vulnerable, heart-wrenching yet unifying season.
Look at how radiant they are! Such a lovable bunch.
Schoens, thank you for giving me this opportunity. Thank you for always being yourselves. Thank you for being such an incredible example of unity. And thanks for showing me and our community what it looks like to be faithful in the midst of the valleys.
It seems fitting that Gabby led us to that field of fresh flowers in our very own Saddleback valley, and that in it, you were able to give each other piggy-back rides, run through budding blooms and make each other laugh with the mountains as your backdrop just as they were on the day I got to take your pictures for the first time.
I pray that whether you're atop the hills or down in the valley, you find the flowers springing forth.
(Update: Junine is now 3/4ths of the way through her treatments - almost done!! I know their family would absolutely love your prayers!)