We’re so excited to share this beautiful desert anniversary session with you today! Josh and Andrea are the sweetest couple and made such an impact on us this year. Before we get to that, first, a little backstory:
Our daughter, Emily, was born in February of this year. We’ve been saying all year she’s been the greatest gift of 2020. When she was born, we had no idea what would quickly be unfolding. Three weeks after she was born, she contracted a common infant virus (RSV, not Covid) that required her little lungs to be on oxygen support at Phoenix Children’s Hospital for three nights and four days. Looking back, it was really fortunate timing. People were still calling Covid-19 “that virus thing” and none of us really understood much about it yet. It was so early that everyone’s day to day life looked normal and it was more like a distant news story There were plenty of hospital rooms available and no shortages of personal protective equipment. Masks weren’t required for visitors. In fact, you could have as many people in your room as you wanted. How much our world has changed…
When we were released from the hospital, the doctors prescribed a one month quarantine of us and Beckett to protect Emily from a second virus (of any kind). This was before the word “quarantine” was a normal part of everyone’s vocabulary. Since she was so tiny her airways were weak and vulnerable, they told us, that she was highly susceptible to getting sick again… which would land us right back where we started. So there we were with a toddler and a newborn, in the thick of postpartum life with a sick baby when the whole world seemingly changed overnight.
A week into our personal quarantine, the NBA canceled its season. That was the first domino to fall. Everyone else quickly followed suit, the stock market had a Great Depression-like crash, and before we knew it, the government had initiated “15 Days to Slow the Spread” and the country was in lockdown.
People were scared. We were scared. With a new baby recovering from RSV and an active toddler coping with a big family change, it felt like we didn’t have the capacity to do much besides survive.
At the same time, we couldn’t stop thinking about our photography students. All over the country. All around the world. Portrait sessions and weddings were getting canceled left and right. Spouses were losing their jobs. Children were all of a sudden home full time. Our entire industry seemingly evaporated almost overnight –– and even though we’d originally planned on taking that time off of work to have a maternity leave, we just wanted to be there to help any way we could.
So, did what most people did: we got a Zoom subscription. Then Jordan did his first of more than ten “COVID Calls” with our students. Every week, sometimes multiple times per week, he sat down in our office, opened his laptop, turned on his webcam and spent hours answering questions and troubleshooting problems. Amy popped in when she could in between naps and nursing and together we all felt a little less alone.
New faces became familiar faces. In the safety of community, the world more safe and less scary. It was, for Jordan and our students, a mutual therapy for the soul. A way to feel “together” when physically we were all so isolated.
One of the couples that showed up to the calls, without fail, week after week, was Josh and Andrea, a husband and wife team from Michigan. Jordan looked forward to seeing them every week, because, as he told Amy, “They have such kind eyes.”
So, when Josh emailed Jordan to inquire about surprising Andrea for her birthday with an anniversary session in the Arizona desert (where we live), we jumped at the chance to be part of it. They were just as wonderful in person as they were over our calls. At the end of our session, Josh –– who’s also a pastor –– said something so powerful, that when we think back on that moment, it gives us chills. “Can I pray for you?” he asked. “I don’t know what’s going on in your life right now, but I feel like you’re going to need peace.” We gathered in the parking lot as they prayed, and it’s a moment we’ll remember for a long time.
Josh and Andrea, you two are so special. Thank you for bringing so much light and encouragement. We loved every minute of our time together and feel so honored to be a part of your photography journey. We know you’re used to being on the other side of the camera, but you two light up in front of the camera! We always say it feels too easy to pose photographers who’ve taken our posing course, and you two are the perfect example of that! We have so many favorites from your session, we had such a hard time narrowing them down! Can’t wait for you to see them all! Here’s a look at a few of our many favorites!