Music, Makers, and Moss

Here’s a little film I made for my good friend Meagan, past bride and owner of Moss, a lovely fair trade flower shop here in Tyler. Every year the shop hosts a fall gathering of local artisans sharing what they love – vintage clothing, handmade jewelry and clothes, organic body products, tasty treats, vinyl records, pottery, paintings, and more…plus a flower crown demo and live music (including Merriment, who sang this track, licensed through Music Bed). Some of my favorite people were in attendance…so much fun to make!

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Such Great Blessings | The Tinnins

It’s taken me quite a while to get around to writing this blog post. Because what can you possibly say about a mother of twin two-year-olds with a terminally ill husband who says, “It’s hard to fault a God who’s willing to keep me busy with such great blessings.”? And what do you say about a man with liver cancer who says, “When people tell me ‘I’m sorry’… I say to them, ‘I’m not. Because the humbling that cancer provided has allowed me to see God in a way that I might otherwise not’.”? What kind of eloquent sentiment can add to the strength and faith on display?

Not much. So I just encourage you to watch Travis and Ashli’s film, hear their own words, and be inspired. I promise, whatever difficulty you’re going through probably pales in comparison. So take heart, focus on what matters (and The One who matters), and be thankful for whatever blessings you have, whatever form they are in.

We had this grand plan of what our life was going to look like. And while I would have never signed up for this, this is so much better...And I know people hear that and think, How? But the perspective I've gained, and what I've realized is important, and not important, and the things I want to say and the people I want to love on...I got that through cancer. - Ashli

Ashli and Travis, thank you from the bottom of my heart for trusting me with your story. I feel honored that you invited me into your home, into your medical procedures, even into your bedroom to document your crazy beautiful lives. Getting to know you two (four!) has been a joy, and hearing your perspective on life and sickness has been simultaneously sobering and uplifting. The next time I’m faced with something frightening and uninvited, I know I will think back on your words. (And by the way, you better make good on your word and call me next time you’re in Tyler!)

At the request of friends, the Tinnins have started a GoFundMe page. Feel free to click on over and give them a gift if you feel so inclined!

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Of Thorns in Roses: The Story of Willa

 

“If we’re hopeful it’s because things will someday be made right, and all things sad will come untrue,
and darkness will be swallowed up in light, and joy will run rampant and all will be well.”
– BJ Brawner

 

 When faced with heartbreaking loss, how do you respond?

I think the answer reveals something about who we are: what we are made of, how we see the world, where we find our strength. In the case of Sara and BJ, who lost their baby before she was born, it is clear that they draw their strength from Someone other than themselves. I, along with many others, watched as they navigated the unknown terrain of grief with honesty, tenderness, and hope. After they became pregnant, the three of us thought it would be special to make a little birth film telling the story about the pregnancy and birth and all the attending excitement and happiness. Having filmed their wedding several years ago and subsequently becoming friends with them, it seemed like a natural next step. So I was especially shocked and saddened to hear that Willa had died at 34 weeks. After the funeral, the three of us decided that we would still make a film, but it would be a different story – still Willa’s story, but we would explore what it means to have  hopeful expectation met with stinging disappointment. Fifteen months after her birth Willa’s story, as told through her amazing parents, is here to provide you some inspiration. Again, in the words of BJ:

“We want to be the sorta folks who get their hopes up. We want to feel the weight of this world in its entirety, in its beauty as well as its brokenness. We want to laugh from our bellies and weep from our souls. And we can do that because our hope and our peace and our happiness is not here—not in our babies (nor in each other, nor in our house, nor in good food, nor in travel…). These are all good things that, although marred with brokenness, serve as signposts that point us back to the King and his Kingdom. We live in Advent for all that it’s worth, waiting for the Christmas feast when all will be made right.”

Willa Rose

You can follow BJ on Instagram here and Sara here, and me here.
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Alyssa’s Dad

The moment we were told that Alyssa’s dad was diagnosed with cancer, our role as wedding filmmakers suddenly became so much more important. Not only were we to there to capture the nuptial festivities, we felt we were there to document Dale also. Before the ceremony I (Vanessa) popped up to mom and dad’s room where they were getting ready and took a few minutes to ask them some questions. I think the results are priceless; it was touching to see the way they cherished each other. Shortly afterward, Dale was able to walk his daughter down the aisle and give her away, something many thought might not possible. What a beautiful moment! He was too weak to continue on to the reception, but he got to experience it for the first time via their wedding film. Read the precious quote below to see how important the film is to them, and check out this little snippet we created.

Vanessa, I don't even know where to begin. I just watched the most incredible video of my daughter's wedding. Thanking God for you at this very moment. I really have no words to describe what i am feeling right now. Ya'll are truly amazing. Dale just watched it from his bed we have set up in the living room. We are celebrating his life and living, not focusing on the news that there is nothing more they can do for him. What a treasure for him to attend the wedding through your perfect depiction of Alyssa's special day. We are just truly blown away. He wants to watch it again and again...We are making him as comfortable as possible and he truly was comforted tonight watching your beautiful video. Thank you so much! You guys are truly amazing, and I wish you the best in your business. I WILL call on you again! —Lizzy
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The Weiner Family Film

Justin and Haley had pictured themselves growing old in Athens with their boys, in their dream home that they had remodeled together. But when their oldest son was diagnosed with a high-functioning form of autism and their drives to Tyler for medical help became more frequent, their plans had to change. Before the sell of their house was closed, they asked me to make them a family film to remember all the fun times and memories they experienced there. So I spent a few hours with them as they did their thing- playing chase, games on the ipad, swinging in the backyard, strolling in the neighborhood that would soon be a part of their past. And it was SO MUCH FUN. I loved being able to make a video time capsule for this precious family, and I’m sure as they put down their roots in Tyler they will be very happy here!

Haley said, “OK… Justin just left work EARLY because we couldn’t wait one more second to see the video….. Thank you so much for getting it to us soooooo quickly!!!

 

Vanessa….
We wouldn’t change ONE. SINGLE. THING.

 

I am speechless. You left us both crying and both boys were mesmerized. You captured everything about this home that is special to our family. The chasing, the laughing, the smiles, the trains, Cooley, outside… it’s all perfect and truly captures our family in this moment. And the music? You hit a home run. We couldn’t have dreamed of something so wonderful. We will forever treasure this video and now we can “re-live” our favorite times together in our first house. The house where we became a family. It’s priceless. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Cheers to making NEW memories in our NEW home! Looking forward to keeping in touch! Thank you again and again!”

 

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Welles’ Birth Story

A week after Kaylyn and Brad’s wedding last fall, I posted their sneak peek and wondered aloud when they were going to have babies so I could film the birth. Little did anyone know that within a month, they would be expecting a bundled of joy! I was thrilled and honored when they asked me (Vanessa) to make a birth film for them. It has been such a joy to document some major milestones for these two and their families, from their Love Story to their rehearsal dinner to their wedding day, and now building a family together.

I love births. When I was pregnant with my firstborn I watched a million YouTube videos of births, and then we made our own when he was born. When I got the call that Kaylyn was in heavy labor, and I could hear her vocalizing through a contraction in the background, I wanted to cry. Labor and birth is just such an intense experience in every way. I went into total professional mode when little Welles made his debut, and I was able to keep it together. It was only when I watched the footage later that the tears came. I think my favorite part of the whole thing is how Brad unconsciously puts his hand over his heart when he sees Welles for the first time. It’s almost as if his heart will explode with joy and he’s trying to keep it all in.

Many, many blessings on this new, precious family.

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The Breckers on Holiday

Heidi and Sean and their adorable family live in Singapore, but every year they travel to their vacation home in Seattle to see family and enjoy some of their favorite local haunts. This year they hired us to travel up there and document them for a few days just doing their “thing”. I love the sweet footage we captured, and I look forward to making more family videos for these folks in the future!

 

 

Heidi said, “vanessa and brent– thank you so so much! it is amazing on every level and we couldnt be happier. have watched it 300 x already. felix LOVES the part where the fish scares him. hilarious…im already planning next years family video and a twin video with karah :))”

 

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