Help-Portrait.

Saturday, December 12 was National Help- Portrait Day. It’s simple. Find someone in need. Take a portrait. Print the portrait. Deliver the portrait. Best part? the whole thing is a gift.

Tim  and I were shooting a wedding at the Historic Savage Mill in Bowie, MD, and he said, “Hey. I’m thinking of putting together a Help-Portrait session here in town. Do you want in?”

Over the next weeks, Tim went to town on this project, praying that God would bring us the right opportunities and people.   I called my peeps . . . Baltimore makeup artists  Jamie Leboe , Jenn Cassell and Debbie Williams. They wanted in before I even finished my explanation. My incredible sister, Nancy hosted the hospitality room, my husband, Carl entertained the kiddos with his guitar. Videographer, Jeff Fritz kept the camera rolling and Tim and I were armed with our best portrait lenses.We did twenty one portrait sessions in an afternoon!

Our team set up camp at the Crossroads Restoration Church in Westminster and we did portraits for the residents of New Life for Girls . . . one of the best things our community has going. New Life for Girls is a residential rehabilitation facility established and committed to freeing women from addiction, restoring self-worth, and providing tools for success . . . all in a Christian context.

These women are fighters. Day by day, they fight to break the clutches of addiction. But the women are so much more than that. They are bright, strong women, full of hope and grace. When they smile, it’s real, and when they can’t smile, it’s real. Tim and I have already been back to the facility to deliver their portraits. On that cold winter night, they had just finished eating a homecooked ham dinner, and were gathered in the kitchen humming Christmas carols and drying dishes. In the time that we were there, they had a choir of Christmas carolers serenade them, and then another group of women from Lifepoint Church come to spend the evening hanging out with them.I can understand why many women who go through the New Life program want to come back and help other women through the program.

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Tim and Jeff . . . armed with the big guns.

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Our photojournalists on set. Megan Hinsche, Abigail Howard, and Kristiana Freundel.

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Chattin’ with a mother- daughter pair.

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MAC makeup artist, Debbie Williams works her magic.

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Jamie Leboe . . . artist to countless Baltimore brides paints her canvas.

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And MAC makeup artist, Jenn Cassell doin’ her thang.

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I love this shot of Jamie Leboe. It came from Megan Hinsche’s eye!

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This is our team (sans Debbie Williams who had to scoot for another gig). I am honored to work alongside these huge hearts. Baltimore has some of the most amazing industry professionals.

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Here’s just a little taste of what we caught that day.  Yea, the portraits turned our beautifually, and the women brought their children, their mothers, (some even brought nieces and nephews!), because ,after all, free is free. But it’s not all about the portraits. It’s about taking the gifts that God has given you and finding a way to share those gifts with others. And that can be done in myriad ways.

For the makeup artsits, it was about speaking life giving words while face to face with another woman. For my sister, Nancy, is was about drawing women out over a cup of tea and some cookies and for our kids, it was about making bellybuttons to share, playing with shy kids, and spreading the joy that bubbles up inside.

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Sharon, Suzie and Tito are the directors of New Life, and have poured their lives into countless struggling women.  Suzie and Tito are parents to ten children, five of whom they’ve adopted from the New Life program. Faith in action.

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