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I'm April, a wedding and portrait photographer; serving those who want joyful and authentic portraits, in Port Huron, MI, Detroit, and beyond. 

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Personal

August 17, 2021

Where I’ve Been…

I have been wanting to write this post for a while now, but I have struggled with where to start and what to say.

As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t been as active on my business pages this past year. I am still doing photography, but I took an unexpected break to be with my family and only did the sessions that I had previously scheduled and am now just getting back into the swing of things.

I started this year with all kinds of plans, but God had something else in store. Normally May and June are pretty busy months for me. I usually have several sessions, but for some reason this year, I didn’t have many scheduled. Looking back now though, I am so thankful for these slow months and for the time I was able to spend with my family.

Mid-April my whole family came down with Covid. My mom, my sisters and I all recovered, but my dad had complications and after 5 days ended up in the hospital. The next three months were some of the hardest months of my life. My dad fought hard but, in the end, lost the battle on June 30, 2021.

I find myself asking why him, why our family? I know I will never have these answers, but I am trusting in God to give my family and I strength as we face the days ahead.

Over these past two months my relationship with God has grown. I have gone to church my whole life and accepted the Lord into my heart as a little girl. My relationship with Him though has honestly been lazy lately until the past three months. I have started reading my Bible every morning and am working on reading it in a year. A goal I have never completed. I am praying more and I’m working on giving God control in my life.

I have learned to be thankful for the friends and family that I have and to not take people or time for granted. It’s important to live in the moment and to cherish the time you get to spend with others. Don’t live your life waiting for the next big thing, enjoy the little things. The time spent at home eating dinner around the family table. The time spent with friends playing games and playing make-believe with their children. Love God and love others.

I am so incredibly thankful for the family God gave me. I am thankful for the numerous family dinners around the table. Each one of us girls trying to talk over the other as we attempted to tell our stories from the day. I am thankful for the support we give to one another. For all the family vacations and trips we have taken over the years and for the parents God gave us. They have not only taught us what a relationship with God and with a spouse should look like, they have also taught us how to love and care for others and to always put God first.

Losing my dad has been hard, but I know it’s because of how special he was. He lived every day for the Lord and loved the people around him. To know him was to love him. He had an infectious smile and a heart of gold. He was always so proud of my sisters and me and would brag about our accomplishments wherever he went, whether big or small. He loved my mom with all his heart and truly valued family time.

After my dad’s funeral I honestly contemplated quitting photography. I was struggling with finding my passion again. I had people contacting me, but it didn’t feel important anymore and I struggled with responding to them. All my plans from the beginning of the year seemed pointless.

My mom reminded me though of the importance of a photograph. She reminded me of how special all the photographs we have of my dad are to us now.

Photography is about so much more than just the image. It’s a way to remind us of all the moments and the people that have passed. I treasure all the photographs I have of my dad, and even though we found thousands while gathering pictures for his funeral, I wish we had taken more.

Here’s a video I made for my dad’s funeral. My niece Lauren sang a beautiful song in honor of him, her, and her brother’s “Grandpa Fox”, and I put together a video of pictures we have of him with only a portion of the people he loved.

Until we meet again daddy <3

  1. Vince Messina says:

    Thank you April for sharing your story over these past few months. Your heart and love for people is the legacy that will always speak of your dad. The difficult and hard times do bring us closer to the Lord, a fresh recognition of His unfailing love and care – even when we don’t see it or feel it. Judy and I are praying for you, your sisters and your mom. All our love – Vince and Judy Messina

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