Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas gifts come in many forms and yesterday afternoon I got one from my friend Marin Morrison. Now mind you Marin is not with us anymore but when she was heading to the Paralympics in Beijing she had requested that I make her some red, white and blue eye patches. I hand sewed them and actually wrote a little message inside one and said that way I would be going with her to Beijing through my handwork. A few days ago an email came from our great supporter Deb Eberhardt linking me to an incredible article about Marin in Sports Illustrated. When the article arrived I read the first 2 pages and then was called back to reality, but today on page 7 I read about Marin completing the race and the eye patch is mentioned. So I start to cry realizing that indeed I got to be with Marin on her incredible journey. I feel I have received one amazing Christmas gift from my now angel-friend Marin. Check out the story in the Sports Illustrated Vault online, it was the December issue that was out before the current copy. Marin and I are pictured here today in a shot that Greg Johnson grabbed for me off the video he was shooting. I treasure the times I had with Marin. If you can't find the link to Marin's story please email me at Lynette@ and I will send a direct link.

I sometimes joke and say that Soulumination has 'gone global'. We did advise a photographer in Sydney Australia about starting her own Soul-type program, our piece from the Today show was shown on international flights by United Airlines and I did work with Brandon's family in Edmonton, Alberta, but now our photographer, Leo Lam is going to work with a new family at Children's who is here from China for treatment for their child. I feel that little by little we can put this kindness out to the world and it will become a normal thing to have beautiful photos of those whose lives are cut short.

We are working toward the 5Th anniversary celebration here on February 6Th. We are grateful to Nintendo for helping fund this day of remembrance. Kari, Sarah and I are meeting today to finalize plans. We are hoping you will attend in honor of our families. We are of course hoping that all of our photographers will be in attendance so that you can meet the amazing talent that forms the backbone of this work.

In the January 2010 issue of Cosmopolitan you can read about our good friend Austen Everett. Her article about surviving stage 4 non-Hodgin's lymphoma is on page 121, and the opening lines are included here today along with a photo that I took in the courtyard here in Ballard. Austen is a long-time friend of my daughters and her mother is a great help and supporter of Soulumination. When cancer struck Austen we did a photo shoot with her looking radiantly bald and this current shot shows her healthy and sporting a new head of hair. This young woman will do a lot to help others who are going through cancer treatment. The Johnson family loves Austen and we are so proud of her.

As we are immersed in the hustle and bustle of the holidays it will be a blessing to take time tomorrow to be with my pal Chris and his family for some updated photos. I can't wait to see this young man as he makes me laugh and has the best outlook. I hear he is looking especially handsome after some facial surgery. Chris has been battling brain cancer since he was a little boy and his approach to life is definitely something unique. He is my favorite stand-up comedian, his quick wit and sharp remarks delight me. I will share photos after the shoot tomorrow.

I took a minute to look at the calendar for December and I see that we are now up to 16 families that we will be working with this month. It is heartbreaking that so many need our services but also it means that we are getting the word out to the right places to be sure that families who would like photos know that we exist.

McKenzie and I worked with our wonderful friends and Soulumination supporters yesterday, Mike and Ashley and their kiddos. I told Mike that I got emotional watching him preform on Austin City Limits this week. I am blessed to know such incredible talent, people who are leaving their marks in the biggest of ways and doing so with humility and grace. To see the young soldiers that were guests of PJ at the show was yet another indication that you can approach life in a way that makes a difference and still be a rock star. Success doesn't have to mean that you lose sight of your own personal grounding. My friends Mike and Ashley live that so beautifully. In love and peace, Lynette