As you may remember from my announcement just a couple of months ago, I was recently selected to be a photographer for an upcoming feature in the Mother’s Day issue of Beauty Revived. As part of their Beauty Revived 50 Beautiful Mothers campaign, I was given the opportunity to accept nominations for a local woman to be chosen and featured for this recognition. What an honor! For those of you who don’t know, Beauty Revived is a movement that brings together a community of photographers who desire to capture and tell the stories of inspiring women with real beauty, courage, and countenance.
From the moment I heard about the mission of Beauty Revived, I knew that this Houston Family Photographer had to be a part of it. I applied and was honored to be chosen to photograph a deserving mother in my area. I started accepting nominations shortly thereafter for one deserving mother to receive a free photography session and be featured in in the Beauty Revived magazine. I immediately received countless nominations but there was one that stood out among the rest. This nomination best represented a mother who is an example of real beauty who has shown her beauty by “her service when weary, grace in defeat, and kindness when tried.” The nomination came to me thanks to a foundation called Caring4Katy located right in my hometown of Katy, TX. It was for a woman named Valerie and today I am honored to introduce you to her and share her story with you.
“Caring4Katy has been blessed with the opportunity to assist numerous families over the past few years who have courageous children battling to overcome life threatening illnesses. Although each and every family that we have helped to this point all deserve to take part in the Beauty Revived campaign, we were able to come to the agreement that Tinsley and her beautiful mother Valerie have shown exceptional qualities that make them an inspiration to us all. Their amazing strength, faith and love for each other shines so brightly at times that it’s easy to forget the hardships that they are facing on a daily basis. As a mother, watching your child undergo a stem cell transplant for Leukemia is not something that any of us would ever expect to face. However, Valerie has been Tinsley’s strength and support through it all. We hope that their story will inspire others who are facing similar struggles and help them to see that they are not alone. Beauty is much more than skin deep, it’s deep down within the love that originates in your heart, and Valerie has a heart of gold.” ~ Caring4Katy
“Being a mom is something I will never regret! My son Tallon is 6 years old and when he was 2 years old I met my husband Kris. We got married in October 2013 soon after Tallon turned 3. By December of 2013, we got a wonderful surprise that we were expecting. Tinsley was born in August of 2014 and was the perfect addition to our family. She had always been a very happy baby but in November of 2015 she started to get very sick. By the end of December, after many trips to the doctor for ear infections, we noticed her stomach to be very swollen. My mother’s intuition just knew something was wrong. I prayed and prayed but I knew deep down something was very wrong. On January 11, 2016 we heard the most feared words a mother could hear, ‘It is leukemia’.
I immediately cried out to God to save my baby. I did not get mad or ask God why but prayed that He save her. I told God that as long as I live I would do His will if he would save my baby. Tinsley was in the hospital from January to May undergoing chemo for Leukemia AML. We had no idea what childhood cancer was about and how many children are diagnosed with it. When you are on the outside looking in you think it is something that is rare and would never happen to your child, but it is not rare. Just from our church there have been 3 children with cancer diagnosed in the last 2 years! While she was in the hospital we had a huge support system that helped us get through everything. My mom is the most patient, kind person I know and I can’t thank God enough for allowing me to be her daughter. She was always there to help me take care of either Tinsley when I was with Tallon or the other way around. I pray that I will become half the woman she is and I will consider myself truly blessed.”
“God answered our prayers and Tinsley was in remission and finished with her treatment in May 2016. We got to bring her home and start our normal schedules again. Playing outside and wrestling with her brother was such a wonderful thing to see Tinsley do again. There were so many times before Tinsley was diagnosed that I felt like I was not a good mom and would frustrated so easily with all the things needed to be done at the house since I was working full-time. I hate that I felt that way because now I will never take for granted that my house is messy and the dishes are pilled up because that means my family is home all together.
Unfortunately on November 27, 2016 we got news that Tinsley’s cancer had relapsed. We were devastated but knew God was obviously trying to get our attention. We prayed and I told God that I loved Him and that He is the one that made Tinsley and gave her to me so if it was only to borrow this sweet precious baby for only a short time that it was well with my soul. It was the hardest thing I have ever prayed! To tell God that I give her back to Him since she was not mine in the first place, she is His child and even though it is hard to believe but He loves her more then I ever could.
I immediately felt a peace about everything. I knew we had another long hard battle but the words Thy will just rang in my ears. There is a Christian song called Thy Will and my kids love it. It played over and over in my head. We were going into the Christmas season and I was bummed we would be spending it in the hospital but as a family we decided no matter what we would find the joy. What good does it do to be mad about it and be upset? It makes it all harder and even though I had my days were I would just sit in the hospital while she was asleep and cry, I also knew God is in control and we have to make the best of it.”
“On February 4, 2017, Tinsley received a bone marrow transplant that was all God controlled. Not only was it a perfect match and a female but the blood type was the same and it went so beautifully well. She is doing so well with it we know it is only to God be the glory for saving her life again! Through this process I have not only gotten closer to God but he has taken so much from me that I struggled with away. I was a huge huge worrier and now I see things so much different and know God truly is going to take care of us no matter what. I promised Him that if He allowed me to keep my baby that I would commit Her back to Him in raising her in a Godly way. I pray that God does something amazing with my children. It is all to His glory and I just want to be a mom that make Him famous and helps my kids see that as well. I’m not going to lie it has been hard and I still have my melt downs but I do not take another day with my kids for granted and thank God for making me their mom!”
MORE ABOUT VALERIE
- Her mom is her hero. She says she is amazing, she is constantly thinking of others, and is very patient with everyone. She is the most God-fearing woman that Valerie knows.
- Her favorite thing to do is go shopping! She is a huge coupon and discount freak and hates to waste a coupon!
- Her perfect day would just to get to have a shopping spree at her favorite store.
- She says that the best thing about being a mom is knowing that God blessed her to be the one to raise them, to know Him, and pray that every day she raises them in a way that points them to God.”
It was a true honor to be a part of the Beauty Revived movement this year. I can’t help but think about how truly fortunate I am to learn from people like Valerie. It is my hope that you will find Valerie’s story as inspiring as I have and that it will give other mothers in her situation the strength and courage needed to overcome the difficult moments that may come our way.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
If you would like to support Caring4Katy in assisting more families like Valerie & Tinsley, please connect at the links below:
Looking to book a Houston Family Photographer? Contact me here and we’ll chat about the images you’re looking to achieve of your family.
Kelly of Lifetime of Clicks Photography is a Houston newborn photographer located in Katy, Texas. Kelly creates modern classic images of maternity, your newborns, and the families that love them. Serving Houston, Katy, Sugar Land and surrounding communities.