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Branding and Beauty Photographer in Hampton, VA

"So who are you, Donna? (besides a photographer?)"

Oh, but yes! That is a picture of yours truly around age 21 or 22. I remember good times, lots of fun, a whole bunch of messed-up mess and I thank the Lord I survived it all! Haha! This March I'll be 50. 5..0...! FIFTY, y'all! I've been through sooooooo much in my little time on this earth. I've survived blood cancer, heart failure, and a heart transplant (I'll talk more about those adventures on future blog posts). Needless to say, health issues have been a huge wall I've been struggling to climb over for a long time and my photography business has definitely suffered setbacks because of them. Now, as I get older I see myself as a survivor through God's grace, and it makes me think hard about what’s coming next in my life. I have lots of goals related to my business, and I have personal and family-related goals too, but beyond that there are certain things that I personally wish to accomplish in the next 5-10 yrs. During my past medical crises so many of you have prayed, wished me well, even contributed with gifts, donations, and your time. I really want to thank you. And I wanted to share some things with you today. These kinds of posts are some of my favorite to read on other blogs because they always reveal a lot about the person behind the brand, and I hope to do the same for you here. More than that, I’m also excited to put a timestamp on these thoughts and come back to them years down the road to see if I actually followed through. Some of them may be of no surprise to you, while others you may be wondering, “Where did that come from!?” Either way, here’s a list of some of my passion pursuits. So here we go! In the next 5-10 years, I'd like to: 1. Write a Fiction Novel Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to publish a book. Back then I even wrote short stories which I never finished but with hopes of revisiting them later down the road. The whole concept of pulling an idea out of my own imagination to build a fantasy world to share with others is just so exciting to me! Thrillers and stories about the human condition intrigue me the most, and I have a booklet of plot ideas that I could potentially choose from. That desire to make up my own story and share it with the world never went away. You know--write the next GREAT novel, lol -- or just a little story to share with family and friends. Yes, I'm going to write something, even though writing doesn't come naturally to me. Whatever the outcome, I will have completed a goal. 2. Travel to Hawaii, Italy, or France I’ve been out of the states twice in my lifetime. I was born in Madrid, Spain, but it hardly counts as a real experience because we left when I was two. In high school, I traveled to London with our marching band. So that was great but I feel I need a little bit more.

Here in the US, I’d like to visit some of the New England states, see more Broadway shows in NY, see the Grand Canyon, spend a couple of weeks at Disney and even go white-water rafting in VERY mild water :-) . When those thing happen, I’ll definitely let you know. 3. Rebuild my strength and get back to my daily 60-min walks In 2005, after getting laid off from my old job, I decided I needed to begin a regular exercise plan starting with Cardio. I really enjoyed it and I actually lost 40 lbs! Then I got sick again and haven't been able to return to that level yet. With my new heart, it's imperative to work my heart muscle and it has been a constant struggle. But I won't give up because there are too many things I want to do and I believe those desires have been given to me by God. I have a fitness goal of gaining back my muscle strength, my stamina and dropping 40 lbs again. Running my business keeps me motivated each day to keep pushing myself -- along with my amazing daughter, Ava. My girl's got my back! When this happens, hopefully I'll show myself and anyone who needs inspiration that no matter how impossible something may seem, work hard at it, believe in it...Go!...Fight!...WIN! 4. In the next few years, I'll be driving this little baby (or something like it) right here! (latest model for that year, of course lol!)

5. Take up piano again. ♪ ♫ ♪ "I LOVE music! Any kind of music..." ♫ ♪ So much so that I started piano lessons when I was ten. I was playing in recitals, in church, etc. But as often happens, piano started to take a back seat to other pursuits as I got older. I really wish I had stuck with it now. I can still play a bit but it'll be like starting over and that's never fun for me. Still, it will be great to finally master the skill.

6. Books to be read So there are many books I feel I should've read back in school. I never got around to books like Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Moby Dick. Maybe I'll try to read Moby Dick. I'm always looking for "good reads" but my problem is once I finish a book I really love, it's hard to move on to the next book and get into it. If you're a reader too I would love it if you shared some of your favorites with me! Here's the last book I read and loved. "Burial Rites" by Hannah Kent. It's based on the true story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir . In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes was condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of her lover. The book recounts the events leading up to the execution of Agnes Magnusdottir - the last woman to be executed in Iceland. "Burial Rites" is not an easy read and it's not for everyone but it's so beautifully written. I enjoyed reading it so much and discovering the mystery behind the events of Agnes' crime. I hope one of you decides to pick this book up and give it a chance. A movie based on this book is supposedly in the works with Jennifer Lawrence and James McAvoy as the main characters! Amazon: https://bit.ly/2G9tIA3

[EXCERPT] "They said I must die. They said that I stole the breaths from men, and now they must steal mine. I imagine, then, that we are all candle flames, greasy-bright, fluttering in the darkness and the howl of the wind, and in the stillness of the room I hear footsteps, awful coming footsteps, coming to blow me out and send my life up away from me in a grey wreath of smoke." 7. There'll be an addition to our family. I'm so excited about giving a new home to a dog sometime soon. I've done a LOT of research and I think it's a good time to do it. I'm deciding between four breeds: a jug dog, a maltipoo, a yorkie, and a jack Russell.

A jug dog is a mix of jack russell terrier and a pug. I mean, c'mon! Look at that face! The Maltipoo: Maltese + poodle

Yorkshire Terrier:

And the wonderful, Jack Russell Terrier:

Tough choice, right? What do you think? Help me pick my new puppy, guys! I could go on but this post is already so much longer than I meant it to be. Thanks for letting me share a little about myself. I look forward to getting to know you too. Have a blessed week! Donna - (✿◠‿◠)

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