I've been keeping journals since I was in the 3rd grade and I'm so glad to share some of my most intimate life moments with you here! Here, you'll find inspirational stories of clients, my journey as a wife and first-time mother and other adventures I have that makes my world go 'round. So please, sit back, grab some coffee ( or my personal favorite, a good ol' fashioned Arnold Palmer!) and enjoy exploring my latest work! Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!
Every once in a while, you meet someone who leaves an amazing impression on your heart. Their smile lights up your life, their spirit breathes life into yours and your world is so much better because you know them. For me, one of those women is Mrs. Doneen Griggs.
The first time I saw her, the first thing I thought to myself was “Jesus, she is beautiful. Look at those eyes!!” Immediately she walked up to me, smiled and gave me the biggest hug…as if we were old friends reuniting for the first time in years. She embraced and welcomed me into her heart in the most genuine way. As we began to talk, I found myself becoming more and more captivated by her. Not just because of her beauty on the outside, but because of her heart on the inside.
Born and raised in Ouzinkie, Alaska, Doneen is the mother of three very active, but loving boys, Richie, Julian and Ian. She now calls Anchorage home and when she’s not screaming with pride at her son’s various motor crossing events or posting on Facebook their numerous professional accomplishments, she is doing everything she can to bring smiles to other people’s faces and enjoying life’s most precious moments. When you look into her eyes, you can see the pureness of joy that dwells in her heart. But even in the midst of her joy, you can’t help but see her pain.
Her husband was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 2010, and when he passed away November 13, 2015, Doneen knew that she had to keep going… not just for herself, but for her children.
“He struggled for 5 long amazing years and he proved that he could out live their life expectancy of 1 1/2 years of life expectancy,” she told me. “He was an amazing man, husband, father and friend. He had such spirit in eyes glistened with life.”
Since his passing, Doneen has been determined to live life to the fullest. Not only is she planning to do some motor crossing of her own this year, but she is also dedicating her life to other people’s well-being, making sure they know it’s never too early to get screened for any type of cancer. Her passion and love for others is so evident and it’s definitely easy to see why she is loved by so many people. Each time we talked about her children, the love of her life and what she hopes her legacy will be, the bigger her smile became and if nothing else was evident, one thing surely was: Doneen LOVES her children.
“Without a doubt, my boys inspire me,” she proudly said. “They have faced a lifetime of sorrow in their short lives…probably more than most kids their age and adults, yet they wake up each morning with determination and joy. They are amazing to see and their hearts are so beautiful.”
Although her husband is no longer physically with her, she carries the love they once shared in her heart and hopes her children continue his legacy.
“I hope my boys keep their dad’s heart in theirs,” she shared. “I hope they remain humble and compassionate, reach out to people and never forget the struggle we all endured as a family.”
Capturing the essence of her joyful spirit was my complete honor. The day we woke up for her shoot, it was snowing. But that didn’t stop us! Aurora and Emily of IceBox Beauty really highlighted her outer beauty with their hair and makeup skills and when Ms. Doneen jumped outside into the snow, we knew we were going to create something beautiful! Midway into the shoot, we were up to seven inches and by the time we wrapped, we were at 9 1/2 inches!! It doesn’t get much more Alaska than that!
Doneen is an incredible woman. She has a strength about her that is unparalleled and carries herself with such beautiful grace. I’m in absolute awe of her.
Ms. Doneen, I can’t thank you enough for coming into my life and lighting up my world the way you have! I absolutely adore you! Thank you for choosing to exist in photographs! You are SO deserving!!