I remember my first camera. It was 3rd grade and I had a broken arm. I took pictures of my sister taking pictures of me. The rest of that roll of film contains creative images of tissue paper flowers that my parents bought us in Carowinds.
A few years later, I received a Kodak Advantix camera. I remember taking black and white pictures of an opossum caught in our trash can and a street flooded to the bottom of a mailbox after a hurricane.
I couldn’t stop pressing down the shutter.
Around my Sophomore year in high school, I received the best present yet: a fully manual film camera. I was giddy with excitement! I took tons of photos and checked out every book in the library on cameras.
Winter of my junior year, the camera was stolen from my driveway. I can still see images recorded on that lost roll of film: Seth Thomas at 14 months playing with the stuffed football and Olivia, Sam, and Hannah bouncing on a trampoline. I was devastated. More for the lost film than the camera. My sweet sweet sister replaced my camera for my 17th birthday. I could have cried with joy.
That spring I blundered into the darkroom at my high school. I spilled chemicals everywhere, but I learned to process film. I even managed to learn oil hand-coloring of my images. Senior year I spent an entire 90 minutes every day alone in the darkroom listening to Jars of Clay. It was a small piece of heaven. I looked at two schools for photography: one in Atlanta and one in Chicago. I wanted to capture images for the rest of my life.
But God intervened.
A full scholarship to a school in state prompted me to stay. I knew God was calling me to attend North Greenville, but they only had two courses in Photography. Photo I and Photo II. I gave up the dream in obedience. I entered NGU as an Early Education Major; I left with a Degree in Outdoor Leadership and a sweet husband named Derek.
Four years of marriage and twin babies later, I had almost forgotten the dream.
But God had not.