Coping with losing my father


January 8th, 2019 the day my world changed in just a blink of an eye. My father battled colorectal cancer for 7.5 years and Liver Metastases for 6 years before his body couldn’t take anymore. My father fought with the strength he had and he lived longer than what anyone expected. With the cancer running in his body my father would Still fix cars all while going through chemo. He would still fix what was broken in other neighbors homes too. He loved his grandsons so much that he spoiled them rotten. They knew his love for them and they knew that papa was the one that could look out for them whenever they needed something.

Whats hard to handle about my father passing is watching it all happen right before my eyes. I supported my dad despite our trouble relationship I was there for him. The long hours having to wait for the chemo to run its duty, All the doctor appointments, hospital visits, running errands, driving to the stores, etc. I watched how he operated throughout all those years until the final months his body took more hits and he slowed down.

It took less than 3 weeks before we received news that the disease in his body would come even more aggressively. I remember hearing the doctors tell him the news and watching the tears fall from his eyes. I couldn’t imagine the amount of emotions and fear of knowing that this was going to be the end and not know when that very day would come. I also remember when his doctor said that he was a living miracle to be up walking and talking with the conditions he had. Despite the news and all my father still did what he could and accepted that God had him.

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I remember praying in the shower that God would so see fit that my father would make it to see Christmas and the New Year. Surely he granted that prayer because he saw both. He got to experience both of his grandsons open their presents and be around his family. But I wasn’t ready for what was going to happen next.

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January 8th on that very night I would watch my father take his last breath. I would hear the sound of his life completely stop. This is something I have to face and deal with because who would have known that I would witness what I did that night. Now, there is the coping with my dad no longer being here and continue to adapt to a new life with him in memory. This is the hardest thing to do because still I believe it is all but just a dream.

I’m writing this post because it is my coping task to share my experience of tragedy for whatever God has next in my life. Heres to healing… one day at a time.

The 757 Birth Foto Me Photography

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Virginia specially Newport News was the place where the birth and love of photography came. Out of a quest of trying to figure out what I wanted to do out of life. I ended up taking Massage Therapy courses at Tidewater Tech Community College. Still to this day I wish I can take back those 2 years and went for Business or photography. I guess the pressure of starting college from my parents just made me hop on Massage Therapy because it all to fell in line with being an Entrepreneur. 

Throughout my first year in college everyone knew I was in the wrong field but I wasn’t going to quit what I started even if I didn’t like it. I spent every available minute to research contracts, invoicing, editing skills, lighting, camera skills, taxes, marketing, anything business.  In February 2009 I graduated with an Associate Degree. In order to practice massage therapy you had to pass a state exam but I ended up failing with nearly 95% of the class (expect 2 people who passed). Yeah, sounds crazy right? 

It wasn’t until October 12th, 2010 I made the jumped to get a business license. The passion I had in me was too big to calm because that was the moment I felt a dream becoming my reality. From that moment became the struggle of running a business. I have been in and out from working part time with a job and attempting full time but all the tools I didn’t yet have. So when I started I failed making a little bit of money but not profiting anything. You can say business wasn’t even business but I wasn’t going to give up on my dream. 

Fast forward to Jan 1st 2018 was the Big BIG jump to actually going full time. I put everything I had learned and developed over the years to just leap. Making this jump I had to face a lot of backlash, being called many hateful names, and being looked down on. I wasn’t going to back down and kept pressing.  Still aiming to make more and not making the same mistakes in the past, I had to learn more, Invest more and pushed more. My First year being full time I accepted more clients, had more opportunities,  and made more money than any other job I held. 

Although I am not quite there fully yet, I know all those years of trail and error and me pushing that I was doing what I Said I would accomplish. Being a Full time professional photographer. Here’s to a GREAT and PROFITABLE 2nd year being Full time. Let’s see what 2019 has for us! 

Most Memorable Christmas 2018

Holidays are about experiences and people, enjoy what you have in the present moment.
— Dominicka "Ro"
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Christmas Eve, me and the bestie hit up my favorite brunch spot “Cracker Barrel”. The atmosphere was on point as always and the customer service was great. Me being the photographer that I am, I ended up taking photos before looking at what I wanted to eat. So I ended up having to tell our waitress to give me a extra two minutes to decide what I wanted. 

Here’s a Funny fact: I’m a picky eater so I ended up having their Grandma’s sampler. Two steamy melted butter pancakes, a nice hot bowl of grits and 3 smoked sausages patties. I’m getting hungry all over again. 

After that delicious beginning, I ended up going to my mom house to let my nephews open their gifts. It’s rare that they both sit together and take a photo. So this one is going down in the memory book to reflect back on. I spent the rest of the day just relaxing and playing games with the family. This is also new because it’s not likely we all can sit down with no fussing. As you can see, my Christmas Eve was just right and I wouldn’t have changed it any other way.

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Christmas Day, started early with me calling and waking everyone up. I just wanted to get everything up and rolling so my mom could get to cooking. Of course I wanted to see my nephews open up more gifts and spending more time with them playing with their new toys. The most memorable moment on Christmas was smelling the goodness that came from the kitchen. The aroma of those seasoned country fried chicken follow by the smell of barbecue spilling over those crispy legs . Not to mention the meatballs gave me a taste of heaven. The baked Mac n cheese was made different this time around with different cheeses but overall was still delightful.

My mom and sister did their thing and my stomach was pleased with a second plate and a plate to go. Christmas this year was good and one that will be remembered. It’s mostly special because my nephews got to spend time with their grandpa and made it a memory for us all to keep for the rest of our lives. Thankful for the gift of photography to document the moments.

My 2018 Travel Experience


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It’s FRIDAY! 

For today’s blog I wanted to share my first year of traveling. Now don’t get me wrong, I have traveled in the past but this is my first year that I traveled consistently. I have flown in the air more times this year than any other year.  Seriously, delta airlines should let me be their sponsor photographer or something. Maybe I’m being dramatic but who love to travel a whole lot more next year….. IT’S A DREAM OF MINES.

Where have I been? Well to kick off the season, I’ve been all over Virginia. I have been to locations that I did not even know existed. Start traveling your own backyard. You will be surprise what you’ll find if you would get out and explore. One of the popular locations that I traveled back and forth to is Richmond. Richmond has a lot of culture and is very rich in the arts. Next year I plan to documentary more in detail the beauty of the murals they have on almost every wall.  The most memorable location in VA was around my birthday when I got to visit one of the largest and most popular caverns in the Eastern America, Luray Caverns. Here’s a link if you ever wanted to visit the location: https://luraycaverns.com

Next trip was Saint Roberts, Missouri and Upstate, New York. I’ve driven twice and hopped on a flight twice to visit my sister and family since their recent move. Driving can be kind of long if your playlist isn’t popping off the charts. You’ll need about 7-8 hours worth of good music or someone that keep you occupied if you take the drive. Every time I go visit I always ask myself when will you go to Canada but thats how close she lived to the boarder. Here’s a tip: The best views while driving would be the mountains through Pennsylvania. I would certainly stick to flying just because its faster.  Saint Roberts was boring lol. I really think it’s because of the heavy military base and celebrating my brother-in-law graduation from the Army. I couldn’t explore like I really wanted but maybe there’s hope to visit again. 

Then there was the time me and my girls took a real girls trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This was the beach relaxing moment. I’ve never been to Myrtle beach and heard stories of everyone talking about how popular it was and all the parties. We went around bike week so there was a lot of people out there but the most thing I remember is the rest and calm breeze the ocean gave me. The music of the ocean is heaven to my ears. This trip was my beach vacation. 

California California was the highlight of the entire year. California has been my dream vacation spot since I was 18 years old and to finally get to visit the sunny state I was in love. I got to chill with sea lions, enjoyed the beautiful warm weather, chilled on the beach and ate some good food. Me and my best friend flew into San Diego and drove to LA where we received a $93 parking ticket trying to view the Hollywood sign. I wasn’t pleased with the welcoming gift LA gave me but certainly enjoyed visiting the sign in person. Looking forward to one day moving to San Diego. 

Being a full time photographer this year couldn’t afford me the luxury of traveling this much so I’m glad that dreams are finally kicking off. I thank God because this is all his work and putting in placed where I am able to travel and do what I love. I look forward to next year travel experience and my 2nd year being full time both in photography and travel. 

Finding Money

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What are the odds of you ever finding money on the ground right when you get out of your car? I’m sure there is a slim chance that this is a normal thing. Today, my best friend found $5 on the ground and then my mother found $50 in a parking lot last week. What is crazy about this blog post? That today, I also found $5 right on the ground when I got out the car.

To my surprise, I was looking around to make sure this wasn’t a setup. As I reached down to grab the money, My mind went into, “what is the number meaning behind “5”?. Once I got to my computer I researched the meaning behind the number. What I found…The number 5 symbolize God's grace, goodness and favor toward humans in the Bible. The number in Numerology terms means the full expression of personal freedom — whatever adventure that may lead to.

In all, this was a unique sign to me. This let’s me know that I’m on the right path to my personal freedom. I am in the process of accepting the thing I cannot change and moving forward to the things I can change within me. While I am still here on earth I plan to keep fighting and strive to live my best life and that starts with loving me.

Finding Rest

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December is the month I have decided to rest. Trying to run a full time photography business is a lot of work and I wouldn’t change it for anything. But what I failed to take note on: Rest is needed in order to provide and give my best. This is something I have been struggling with pushing myself beyond limits to make sure I was present. By pushing myself I found myself as a empty cup. Empty with nothing more to give because I’ve given all I could and now its time to refill that cup by resting. I hope this month brings me to a space where I am refreshed mentally, spiritually and physically.

My Reality of becoming a Full time photographer


 

8 years of having a vision of becoming this successful photographer who owned her own business, had a nice studio, traveled the world creating stories to share with the world, and giving back to the community. That was my dream and goal for past 8 years and still my heart desire til this every moment. 

But the process of getting to that vision is hell. I knew it wasn’t easy to achieve but I didn’t know it was going to be this strenuous. God was in my plans, dreams and visions. But that wasn’t my reality, Majority of those 8 years I became depressed, frustrated, lost, broken, and my faith in God was gone. What I was fighting was to achieve my goals and make them reality without God. 

The lies of my mind convinced me to believe that I could do anything; if I put in the work. I sacrificed any and everything and believed in those things that I would achieve the vision that only God has given me. 

I found myself questioning why I’m not in that vision right now. Why I’m not even close after all these years and time investment. TWhen finally I realized the missing piece to all the hard work, the sacrifice of sleeping on a blow up beds or the months without funds but still giving top notch service was Him. God was and is my missing piece. 

Funny thing of it all, I expected him to give me something without having any connection to him. For the past 1yr and 9 months he has been chasing me down just to make me understand this very thing. 

So today, I made the choice to put God back not only in my business but in my life because after all he is the only one who can Make it all my reality. Welcome to my world where you may see a typo, run ons, fragments, and slang out of this world because I refuse to write correctly most times. This is me, raw and uncut, but this is my story. Hope you stick around.