Stephanie is one of the strongest women I’ve ever known. I don’t say that as some placating remark, I say it because it’s true. But her history and the masterpiece she’s woven out of her life is not my story to tell, it’s hers. My story to tell was the morning / day I spent with this remarkable artist / single mom and her kiddos. This was the session that made me realize sleepover sessions are more valuable than I ever realized, that when you sleep over at someone’s house and eat around their dining room table, you become a part of their family.

I knew it had happened when Atticus, one of her sons, drew a picture for me to take home. At the top it read “My Family” . . and I was in it. The hours I spent with these dear ones will forever stay with me, and I mean that more than silly words or pictures could ever display.

Stephanie, Atticus, Thurston, and Gaia,

Thank you for opening the door to your world and welcoming me in with wide open hearts. Thank you for making me feel loved, for a comfy bed to sleep in, for good food, for drawing family pictures with me in them and for braiding my hair. Thank you for sharing secrets and superpowers, for dancing and laughing and treasure hunting all day with me. You were one of my best treasure hunts to date.

I hope you can see a glimpse of yourselves and the glory that surrounds the life you are making together through these humble offerings.

I love you,
ash

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