Usually this time of year, we look back and talk about what a wonderful year this has been. How much we have enjoyed working with our clients and how we can’t wait to see everyone again the following year. While most of that applies this year as well, 2014 was a little different for our family. Earlier in 2014 our family experienced a few personal tragedies. Shortly after these events, we were hit with another blow that completely changed us.

On the evening of Wednesday, July 16, we did what we do every Wednesday evening. We ate dinner and got ready to head off to bible study at our church that was about a mile from our home. Ken made a run to the store and on the way back called me. I realized I had forgotten to tell him I needed packaging tape. He was going to turn around and go back but I told him not to. Just to come on home and we would run by Walgreens after church. Off to church we went and after a wonderful time studying in the word, we went to Walgreens. I wondered around the store looking at random things, eventually buying the tape I needed and some candy (what can I say, Nerds Ropes were on clearance!). We made our way home and pulled in the drive to see Alice, the stray cat that we had been feeding and semi-adopted walking up the sidewalk to greet us.

There was nothing out of the ordinary.

We parked the SUV and all started piling out. As I got out I remarked to Ken how it smelled like smoke. My first thought was that someone was burning trash or something somewhere nearby. I turned back to the SUV to get the bags from the floorboard. As I turned back toward the house I saw smoke coming out along the roof line. As I looked up, over the pitch in the roof I could see the orange glow. I yelled to Ken that something was on fire. It must be the house behind us, or maybe it was the tree behind the house. As we ran to see it was painfully obvious. It was our home… our home was on fire!

I called 911 and we waited what seemed like forever for the firetrucks to arrive. As our family watched in disbelief at everything we owned, everything we worked for and had collected over our 18 years together, go up in flames.

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It went so quickly, there was little hope for anything inside. By the time the volunteer fire department arrived the entire home was engulfed. It took most of the night for the firefighters to put out the flames.

The next day we were able to go and assess the damage. Nothing could have prepared me for what we would see…

The kitchen where we had just had dinner the night before was completely unrecognizable. It took me a bit to realize the twisted form of metal in the middle of the kitchen was what used to be our refrigerator.

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The living room where we sat together, read together and snuggled on the couch to watch tv or play games together. The portraits over our fireplace, our home movies stored in the entertainment center. It was all gone.

 

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Our master bedroom… We had just recently gotten a new bed a few months prior and just the week before had refinished a new headboard for it. Below is the startling before and after of our bedroom.

2014-07-17 22.34.59It’s one of those things you never think will happen to you. It happens to other people, people you see on the news occasionally or see through a friend on Facebook. It doesn’t happen to you, it’s never your family…until it is.

I can’t even express the thankfulness we feel that none of us were inside the house. We are all safe and healthy and together. I can’t tell you how glad we are that we stopped at Walgreens for tape and candy instead of coming home and crawling into our beds, where the outcome could have been much, much worse.

We were so very blessed by our friends and family who stepped up to help us in our time of need. We had nothing but the clothes we had worn to Bible study the night before. We met new friends who were so generous to bless us with all kinds of donations, clothes, shoes, toiletries, things to keep the boys busy and their minds occupied.  People we did not know were praying for us and sending donations. It’s in times like this that you see the true beauty in this world. The beautiful people who do what they can to help others, sometimes others they don’t even know.

Without equipment to photograph, our wonderful associate photographers picked up the slack and took care of our amazing clients until we were able to replace and repair. They were instrumental in making sure our clients still received the top notch experience they know and love from Knowles Portrait Design. We will be sharing some of those portraits from this summer on the blog and facebook page very soon. So be sure to check back often!

Just a few weeks after the fire, we learned there was another rainbow shining through for our family. A very special little blessing that was ahead.

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That’s right! We are expecting our 4th little boy this spring!!!!

So as we look back over the year of 2014, while it was filled with heartache and loss for our family, it was also filled with hope and encouragement. As we look forward to 2015, we look forward to that hope being realized in the form of brand new life. A fresh start and the realization of a rainbow of promise.

I’ve heard it said so many times but I now I can tell you just how true it is. When you have a tragedy or a disaster in your family, the first thing you look for, the first thought is of your family portraits. The artwork that shows the legacy of your family. The portraits you want to pass down to your grandchildren and their children. That is why we love what we do and why we know just how important it is.

With that we leave you with a portrait of our family… missing Ken because he took the photograph 😉

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In 2015, we look forward to seeing you, our treasured clients and continuing in the tradition of creating exquisite portrait art for your home to last from generation to generation.

One Response to “2014 {A Year Of Hope} Mobile Alabama Family Photographer”

  1. Karen Thrasher says:

    Rebecca, thanks for sharing your story. We feel blessed that we were able to have a Knowles photo session in the midst of such a time for you in 2014. Thank you for making it happen so unselfishly for us. Our prayers for you and your beautiful family for many of God’s richest blessings in 2015.

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