February 9th, 2015
Since I haven’t blogged in WAY too long, I thought I would do one big blog post showcasing some of my favorite shots in 2014. I worked with over 172 families throughout the year and absolutely love being a photographer in the Smoky Mountains! Many thanks to my clients, new and old for making 2014 my most successful year yet!
Aleah and Ken had a beautiful intimate wedding in their cabin!
Ally had her Senior Portraits done at Greenbrier and Emerts Cove in Gatlinburg!
Amanda & Matt celebrated 1 year of wedded bliss with an intimate photojournalistic session in the privacy of their rental cabin
Ami is a basketball champ who had her Senior Portraits taken at Cades Cove! It’s amazing what a little creativity can do to make a portrait amazing!
The Keister Family had a fun and festive family photo shoot at “The Village” downtown Gatlinburg! Love the old phone booth!
The Ollis Family rocked their large family photo shoot at Emerts Cove!
Doug and Cheryl were wed at the beautiful overlook at the Buckhorn Inn in Gatlinburg! I was honored to be their wedding photographer
Mike and Cheryl celebrated 30 years of Marrage with a photo session at the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge! I love this couple!
Kevin & Christina had a gorgeous wedding at the Gatlinburg Falls Wedding Pavillion. I was so honored to photograph their special day!
This commercial job certainly made me go a bit WILD! These are the gorgeous cats who star in the Smoky Mountain Opry! I enjoy being a commercial photographer in Pigeon Forge!
The Emerts Cove Covered Bridge is a favorite location for many of my families! That’s one of the benefits of being a photographer in Gatlinburg!
I love working with the little ones!
March 7th, 2014
Charlie & Regen travelled to the Smokies for a couples Valentine’s Day weekend and chose to commemorate 22 years of LOVE with a photo session in the beautiful valley of Cades Cove inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was clearly evident that this couple is totally smitten with each other and we had such a great time! We even had some deer join us for a few shots!
All Images Copyright Rich Blessings Photography
September 11th, 2013
I have never written my story for the public to view. It has always been painful, but life over the last few years has taught me that God gives us our stories so that we can help others live theirs. What better forum to share it on than on the public blog of the photography business that God has blessed me with.
I once was a midwestern girl who married my prince charming and into an italian family from Queens, NY. I was very young, naive and solely dependent upon my husband for everything. Every emotional and financial need, I looked to him for. He was a good provider. He made sure we had the best of everything. A beautiful home, the nicest things inside of it, trips to Disney World multiple times a year, cruises, a perfectly decorated home for every holiday and presents filled the living room on Christmas.
In 1999 we adopted thirteen month old twins from Moscow Russia. They became the reasons I lived and breathed, cooked and cleaned. My life was immersed in my husband and little girls as should be with a young wife and mother. The girls…they had it all …a closet full of matching outfits, a playroom full of every toy a child could ever want and a backyard with the best play set with a twisty tube slide that money could buy. I thought that was happiness. I thought that was LOVE. I didn’t know any better…but as the daughter of a Nazarene minister, I did know better…
Life went on and we continued to live the proverbial “American Dream”. Fast forward 8 years. The girls were growing and entering middle school, the family was changing, I was beginning my career as a professional photographer and my business was beginning to grow and my husband worked more than he lived. We became strangers living in the same home. I continued doing what I thought was right…caring for our children and our home, building my new business and pursuing that passion. We had moved into a much larger home with even more bells and whistles than the one when the girls were little. I was unhappy, but didn’t recognize it as unhappiness, but I knew something was missing in our lives. I was becoming an angry person. I was frustrated. I thought that if my husband would just give us more of his time, things would be better. Again, depending on a human man for my happiness.
In June of 2009 our family changed forever. My sweet Father in Law passed away. We all loved him and had a close relationship with him, especially the girls. The day of his funeral will live in my memory forever…it was the day that DECEPTION entered our life. To make a long story short, that was the day I realized my husband had been unfaithful to us…and had been for apparently a very long time.
There is no way to make the story short but I will simply say that through a series of many deceptive actions and events, in November of 2009 I found myself living in East TN alone… No husband…no children…no 2400 Square foot home with beautiful furnishings…just me, my cat and a 900 square foot apartment.
I had essentially “lost everything” because I chose to put my faith and trust in a human man (my husband), Because I wanted our family to be OK…I chose to trust and believe that he wanted that too. I believed everything that was told to me. My world literally fell apart around me. I was no longer a wife. I was no longer able to mother my children as I had since we adopted them in 1999. Who WAS I? I had a choice…to live…or to die. There were some days I wanted to die. Everything I was had been taken from me.
I chose to LIVE.
Through a friend I had met at a local theater show in town, I found out about a church not far from my apartment. I walked into my church, a completely broken woman, just about 6 weeks after I came to TN. I will always credit my friends and church family at Pathways with helping to “save my life” in a sense. I began the long journey of healing. I began reading and studying God’s word. I began praying. I immersed myself in music that uplifted me and brought me healing. I began putting my faith, trust in hope in a man, once again…except this one, His name is JESUS. He held me when I cried and shook and agonized uncontrollably. He was there when I missed my children so bad that I thought I would die. He showed me what true LOVE is. HE WAS THERE.
Though scars remain, Jesus is the one who helped me come to complete healing. I have realized that Jesus Christ alone is the true source of not just happiness, but of JOY.
Four years later… I am a whole woman, maybe for the very first time. I now have one of my 2 beautiful daughters back with me, and she is trying so very hard to live her life for Jesus. I have had to relinquish the daughter who is not with me and who I am not able to mother in the ways I would like to into the hands of Jesus every single day. I love her so much, and that will never change.
By the grace of God, I now am living my professional dream and have a growing photography business. God began blessing this business RIGHT ON TIME and I am able to support myself and my daughter. I have so many wonderful and supportive friends and family, all of whom have shown me what love is all about. Most of all, I have Jesus. When you have nothing else in this life, HE is there. Sometimes it takes losing everything to bring us to Him so that He can make us into the person we are to be FOR HIM. I have hope for a wonderful future, He told me so when he gave me my life verse…
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, but to give you HOPE and a FUTURE. -Jeremiah 29:11.
My Story: Well, it’s not at all how I thought it would be when I said ” I do” at Disney World in 1997.
My Road: It’s definitely been BUMPY and full of twists and turns I never thought I would have to go ’round.
My Walk: That’s probably the most important part of all of this, I’ve learned to walk closely hand in hand with Jesus Christ, He is my VERY best friend. I know that because I find myself turning to HIM first in every situation.
My Testimony: I pray my story will touch someone, especially other broken and wounded women who have lost so much through deception of a human man. I pray it will give someone the courage to turn to Jesus Christ in their life today
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another -John 1:16
Below is a song by not only one of my favorite Christian bands, The Sidewalk Prophets whose music, along with Mandisa helped bring me up out of the pit on some of the hardest of days. Help Me Find It by Sidewalk Prophets is a beautiful song about praying to the Lord about finding the road the Lord wants us to be on, and to be still while we’re waiting for it to be revealed.
@swprophets @mandisaofficial #HMFI