Thursday, May 3, 2012

Postponed Nuptials...

So here we are.  Right from the start let me tell you that this blog doesn't come with any pictures or names (other than me and my Mom!).... I promised to share a particular time in my life, and you have returned to read more  {and hopefully get to know me just a little better.} I'm sure at this point my Mom would be cringing, wishing I would just keep my mouth shut (or stop moving my fingers across the keyboard, as it would be in this instance!) But I'm all about sharing... not for any kind of shock factor.  Rather, to let someone else know in their own times of sadness, disappointment, betrayal, or whatever tough time they may be experiencing that they are not alone.  Someone else has gone through something similar - maybe even worse, or possibly a little better.  Ok... enough stalling.  On with the story...

I was always in love with being in love when I was a teenager.  Always daydreaming of how romantic my soulmate would be... and looking at each cute boy as if maybe he was the one coming for me.  And honestly, I had some very sweet boyfriends... most of whom I look back upon very fondly and would be proud to consider them my friends even today.  But there was one whom I was more than crazy about from the time I was about 10-yrs-old.  We basically grew up together.  So it really shouldn't have been a surprise when we started dating when we were 17.  We were together through our Senior year of high school, and honestly probably missed out on much of the "Senior" experience because we were too serious too fast.  But you can't tell kids anything! Much to our parents horror, he proposed 3 weeks after we graduated high school.  And of course, I said Yes.  Growing up I was always the girlie-girl, and weddings were no different.  I had been buying Brides Magazine for years - longer than Glamour or any of the other magazines teenage girls have to have!  And right away I started planning our perfect wedding.  Of course, if you know me it will not surprise you that my bridesmaids dresses were purple - and there was purple in absolutely everything to do with my wedding.  We scheduled the wedding for about 11 months after we were engaged, so there was a lot of time to plan and prepare.  My life was going to finally be complete.   I'm quite the stubborn personality - I think that's not too surprising to anyone - so there was no talking me into waiting a little longer, being a bit older, or anything...this was what we wanted right then, and in our minds we were grown-ups all the way!  But life has a funny way of showing us sometimes just how different things are than what we might want them to be.  

About 3-4 weeks before our wedding was to happen... after all of the decisions have been made, deposits have all been paid, invitations mailed, dresses have not only been ordered - but have arrived and had all but final fittings... my fiance told me that he wanted to postpone for a year or two.  He definitely didn't want to break up...just wait a little while longer for the wedding.  He pointed out that just maybe we were a little too young to get married and take on so much responsibility. Nothing had to change at all between us... just the wedding date.  Devastation does not even begin to describe what I felt. {It was a little while after all of these events that I found out there was a bit more to the story... that his parents had orchestrated the entire postponement, and had made the offer too enticing for him to pass up... but that's for another blog!}

It was at that time in my life that I saw a side of my Mother that I had never seen before.  I saw the side of her that would one day become my friend.  As a mother of grown children myself now, I know how I would have felt in that same situation.  I'd have done some kind of dance of victory - knowing that my child was too young to understand exactly what they were getting into at such a young age {while at the same time ready to whoop whoever had just broken their heart!}  How unprepared they really were - and just wanting them to have a more realistic view of the decisions they were making at that time.  (And please don't think I am against young marriage - but I also do know that I really did not have a realistic grasp on the decisions I was making!) But my Mom let me lay in my bed and cry my heart out for a couple of days... she let me have my time to mourn the situation.  (During that time she handled all of the cancellations, and she lost quite a bit of money in deposits.  But she never said a word about any of it.) Then after a couple of days she came into my room - she opened the curtains and let the sunshine flood in - and she said "Ok, DonnaKay, you've had enough time to cry about this... Get up!  It's time to find a way to move on."  So we packed up some clothes and went to the beach for a few days!  It was the only time in my life that my Mom and I packed up and went on a trip - just the two of us.  It was early May, and it was very breezy and cool - but we left my hurt behind, and made the best of a few days away.  

I look back on this time in my life and I can't help but smile.  Even though there was the pain of such disappointment, I also have so many good memories, and of course there is the "what if's" that come to my mind.  But I see how this was one of those experiences that molded me in many ways into the strong woman I have become in my life.  And I understand how this boys parents didn't want their young son to jump into marriage at such a tender age. I would have felt the same way when my kids were that age. And there are so many priceless lessons that I've taken from this period in my life.  

Ok... so now you know I was basically a jilted bride!  But I smile at the memories... and I cherish the lessons and growth that they brought to my life.  Most of all I learned that sometimes when bad things happen they can be the best thing for us in the end.      

Ready for MORE???

Also visit my Photography by DonnaKay blog @

Writing to an unknown audience has both positives and negatives.  You're never sure who is learning about secrets and possibly vulnerable times in your life -- but on the other hand, you also never know who might read something that correlates with something in their own life and might possibly help them through a tough time.  I'm a pretty transparent person.  That is hard for some people in my life - they believe that I might should keep things a bit more private.  But I tried that route for a long time, and it simply didn't make things easier to deal with for anyone.  When I decided to start sharing more with others, I found that people would get in touch with me somehow and let me know that something I had shared actually helped them in their own life!  And that made me feel like maybe what I had gone through was somehow not in vain.  It had a purpose, even if it was just to be able to help someone else. 

My life has had enough adventure, heartbreaks, disappointments and even happy times to keep this blog going for a long time.  So get comfortable and let's see what comes up today!! Forewarning, though: I will change names and possibly some some important things (people, dates, places, etc) if necessary - because I certainly don't want to bring any embarrassment or unwanted attention to anyone else.  What I'm writing about is my experience. So I hope you can appreciate and respect that for me and for them {thank you upfront!} 

Growing up I was always a very passionate person.  Even as a child I was quite mature and passionate.  At 2, I knew that I wanted to grow up and be a Mommy.  It was actually the job (after go-go dancer) that I would tell people I wanted when they would ask that dreaded question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"  I was also always quite the girly-girl.  Wanting to shave my legs, wear panty hose (what was I thinking?!!!), pain my nails, and thinking my life would be simply perfect once I was able to wear make-up without sneaking!  But what I wasn't prepared for was some of the heartache that also comes with growing up - and actually just life in general.  

As I mentioned earlier, there were many heartaches and disappointments along the way.  Many broken hearts...and I will share a few along this blogging journey.  But probably one that made the most long-lasting impression on me was the postponed wedding.  And that is what I will share in my next blog.  So I hope you will return... and comment, share, something!  Hey, guys, it's like I'm standing here baring my soul to you... I need some feedback!

Please have an awesome day.  Click "Follow" to be alerted of when I publish a new blog, or check back frequently.  But I'll very soon share even more of my life with you.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Not In Vain

Also visit my Photography by DonnaKay blog @

It has definitely been a while since I've written on this blog... and I have missed it so much.  It's not that there's been nothing to write about, but more that life has been busy.  Sometimes I'm just not sure how much to share - or how much to keep to myself.  But honestly, I truly believe sharing is my way of dealing with things - but also hopefully a way to offer help and hope to others who may be experiencing some of the same things I go through in my own life.

This is my personal blog page... it's Beyond Photography by DonnaKay, because I AM Photography by DonnaKay.  Yes, it is technically my photography business... but being a photographer is definitely a part of WHO I am as a person, a woman, a mother, a wife... and all of the other descriptions that could be used to define me.

So let's jump ahead to the past couple of days in my life.  I had to drive to the beach to go to court for someone I love dearly.  And I would probably have driven to the moon and back if that was what it took to lend my support.  (thankfully that wasn't required!)  Much to our disappointment the DA got the trial continued... and we will have to do it all again in the not-to-far-off future.  But the trip wasn't in vain.  Nothing ever really has to be in vain, does it?  There are always lessons that can be learned... friendships that can be made... kindnesses that can be bestowed.  And I have learned to not waste any of my moments in life.

This trip I was able to meet some new people... and hopefully they are people who will remain a part of my life.  Parents who are struggling with the pain they've experienced through all of the events leading up to the weekend.  No one will probably ever know the extent of what they have been through, and of how much their hearts have hurt from it all.  But if there are things I've learned myself as a parent, they definitely include: 1) NO family is perfect; 2) our kids may disappoint us, but they are still always our kids, and we NEVER stop loving them; and 3) never, ever give up hope that consequences will help bring someone back to what is right.

Hold on through the tough times... those are the times you are growing the most, developing character that will make you WHO you are.  Don't let them tear you down or destroy you -- you can get through them.  And you don't have to ever be alone.

Here's a picture taken outside of the courthouse... I, of course, was behind the camera (my happy place!!!) - but these people touched my life over the past couple of days.  And that is a good thing.

Have a GREAT day!!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spillin' it in the middle of the night...

It has definitely been a long time since I've written on this blog.  I switched my blogs over to my Website with the intention of driving up visibility of that page... but simply, I haven't had time to write on any of them in a while regardless.

As I write this, it is the middle of the night - and I woke wide awake from a deep sleep all of a sudden.  My mind full of thoughts - and unable to go back to sleep.  So what better way to deal with a full mind of thoughts than to write them down... share them with someone else (whoever that may be!)... and hopefully sleep will return at that point.  We shall see...

The past several weeks have been overwhelming in so many ways.  Actually, I guess I could say the past years have been overwhelming in even more ways.... but it would take a novel rather than a blog-page to include all of that!  For now I will stay with just the events of my last few weeks.  

Have you ever had a friend who hurt you?  They said something or did something and honestly, it just broke your heart... cut to the core of your feelings?  I had that happen...well, I've had it happen many times in my life, but the time I write of now was last year.  But I had finally gotten to a place of accepting what was, moving on from the extreme hurt of it, and knowing that I didn't want to go back.  So how do you handle it when they come back?  Not to say "hey, I was wrong to say what I did... or to do what I did..." but rather to ask a huge favor of you?  My humanness wanted to say "um, NO" but the part of me that believes with all of my heart in forgiveness (even if it's not asked for) and second chances... that believes I have a choice in my actions and reactions... well, that part said "yes... I'll do what I can to help you."  Needless to say, the favor was exhausting... but the feelings and the hurt that it all brought back to the surface have been even more exhausting.  The disappointment that this person doesn't even seem to realize what they did to me... that I matter that little... has been actually rather heartbreaking again on a certain level.  And now I am in a place that is past the favor - and once again trying to figure out how to move on from here.  My hopes are not raised - reality is still there - and lessons learned bring me much thankfulness.  

Along with that in my last few weeks has also been a session with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep that brought so much sadness to my heart.  I imagine that this was a different case than I'll probably deal with very often.  The expectant mother had called back before Christmas... her baby was found to have a genetic condition that would not allow him to live.  He would most likely die at some point during the pregnancy... and she would find out at either a check-up or when labor started that he was gone.  She had found out about NILMDTS and wanted to arrange for me to be there through her labor... the hope was that he would be born alive - even if for only a moment and long enough to hear a cry.  A couple of weeks ago, actually on a day when I was leaving to go out of town for an extended weekend, I got the call at 5:30 am that her water had broken... she was on her way to the hospital.  Could I get there?  I borrowed a little more time, knowing she had to get checked in, be seen by the doctor, get settled into her room... but as much as I wanted just a little more sleep, I was up and in the shower soon and then on my way to the hospital.  It was a long day... the morning brought pain right away, as the baby went from a very weak heartbeat to no heartbeat while we all waited with the mom hopeful he would at least take one cry.  And his birth brought such a sadness... seeing his beautiful face, the reality that he existed and all the love that Mother felt was real for her child... and at that same moment having to tell him goodbye, even though he had already left a short time before.  There are no words to adequately describe the sadness, the disappointment, and the thankfulness I felt in my own heart that I had never had to experience the pain I was watching her go through.  As that was the last day I had before a lot of busy days set in, it has been up to now that I've worked when I could on the images from that day... editing them to bring them to a place where they will hopefully bring bittersweet joy, healing, validation of his existence to a family who lost their child before even having a chance to know him.  The images have certainly brought me many tears, prayers, wishes and hope already, and I am humbled to have been a part of their life through this experience.  

Now, without divulging too many exact details of the past few weeks, I am still awake at 3:45 am... sleep eludes me for some reason, and I wonder if I am to lay quietly in the dark and listen to the hum of the humidifier, or get up and read quietly... but what I do know is that although there is hurt and pain all around me, there is also a quiet peace in my heart.  A peace that I believe comes from God... to let me know that my persistence in trying is worth it... that He sees it.  And knowing that even now... awake at this too-early hour... I am not aloneHe is always with me